Treasure Chest

Some more of the same

Watching World News Tonight With David Muir on Hulu, and they had this story about President-elect Donald Trump making  the grave decision to close down his eponymous Trump Foundation. With 25 days until Mr. Trump takes on the highest profile job in this country, possibly in the world, he’s telling us he will dissolve the foundation “to avoid even the appearance of conflict.” Despite what critics have been saying about Trumps charitable foundation, he has assured the American  public that “100% of the money” goes to charity.

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Good to hear that. Some of us have been getting the wrong impression. In previous news releases it was disclosed that funds from the foundation were used to purchase an artist’s portrait of Mr. Trump. Some background. Mr. and Mrs. Trump were attending a charity auction, and an artist quickly painted a portrait of Mr. Trump and put it up for auction. Remember this is for charity. Mrs. Trump won the bidding at $10,000. The artist suggested that Mrs. Trump double her bid, and she did. Half of the $20,000 went to the artist, and the remaining $10,000 went to the charity. Trump took the painting and installed it in one of his properties. The charity received a check, $20,000, but the check did not come from Mr. Trump or Mrs. Trump. The check came from the Trump Foundation. The charitable Trump Foundation purchased a painting for Mr. Trump’s personal use—something usually not allowed for charitable foundations that receive tax-exempt status under the 501 (c) (3) tax code.

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And that is so much for that. Except, there  is more. Is there more? Yes, there is more:

David Fahrenthold, who wrote the item for The Washington Post, reports on other curious disbursements from the tax-exempt Trump Foundation.

In recent weeks, The Washington Post has reported other instances in which Trump may have violated those rules. He used $258,000 from the foundation to pay off legal settlements that involved his for-profit businesses. He spent $12,000 from the charity’s coffers to buy a football helmet signed by then-Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow.

More? Yes:

Self-obsessed billionaire Donald Trump earlier snatched the campaign torch from the Republican Party by scooping up conservative America’s low-hanging fruit. Full disclosure: it’s something I proclaimed over a year ago could not be done. I was wrong! How wrong? Very wrong. Trump, of all candidates, is supreme in his innovative campaign financing:

During their meeting in Trump’s office, they discussed Christian faith and religious liberty. Smith was struck by “a different Donald Trump than I expected.” On his way out the door, Smith asked that Trump consider donating to the Palmetto Family Council.

“He was never heavy-handed about any quid pro quo,” Smith said.

But Trump delivered.

“It was a quiet donation that came with a simple cover letter,” Smith said. It read: “Great meeting with you and your wife in my office,” dated May 6, 2011. Enclosed was a check for $10,000 from the Donald J. Trump Foundation.

That check is one of at least several donations to suggest Trump used his private foundation, funded by outside donors, to launch and fuel his political ambitions. Such contributions, if they were made solely for Trump’s benefit, could violate federal self-dealing laws for private foundations.

From 2011 through 2014, Trump harnessed his eponymous foundation to send at least $286,000 to influential conservative or policy groups, a RealClearPolitics review of the foundation’s tax filings found. In many cases, this flow of money corresponded to prime speaking slots or endorsements that aided Trump as he sought to recast himself as a plausible Republican candidate for president.

Although sources familiar with the thinking behind the donations cautioned that Trump did not explicitly ask for favors in return for the money, they said the contributions were part of a deliberate effort by Trump to ingratiate himself with influential conservatives and brighten his political prospects.

Nobody besides Donald Trump has the imagination to use a tax-exempt charitable foundation to finance his political campaign. What next can we expect? Will The Donald come up with innovative charitable foundations to finance our next nuclear aircraft carrier? Only November 8 will answer theses weighty concerns?

And that is all there is to it. Not quite:

Self-obsessed billionaire Donald Trump earlier snatched the campaign torch from the Republican Party by scooping up conservative America’s low-hanging fruit. Full disclosure: it’s something I proclaimed over a year ago could not be done. I was wrong! How wrong? Very wrong. And all despite Donald Trump’s long history of criminal behavior:

That’s the pay-for-play Trump has talked about so much recently in another context. He paid; they played. With his characteristic bravado, Trump bragged about being a participant in the corruption that he was setting out to fix.

As far as rhetoric goes, it’s a tricky line to walk. But when questions arose about Trump actually giving money to get a benefit from politicians, those comments came back to haunt him.

At issue is a contribution made by Trump’s foundation to a political group associated with the attorney general of Florida. The Post’s David Fahrenthold has been tracking money flowing in and out of Trump’s nonprofit for months, and he reported last week that the organization had to pay a fine for giving to a 527 political organization, a violation of rules governing nonprofits.

Just so you understand, Donald Trump ran a fraudulent company known as Trump University. Prospective students were promised professional instruction in creating and managing money-making real estate deals. In fact, the professionals giving the instruction were professionals in fraud. Prospects paid, in some cases, thousands of dollars for worthless instruction. It was expected that Florida would join in a New York suit against Trump University, but Attorney General Pam Bondi dropped the case, and her re-election campaign received $25,000 from the Trump Foundation. The Trump Foundation is a 501 (c) (3) organization, which means it is exempt from paying taxes. At such it is also prohibited from making political contributions.

Graciously, President-elect has elected to “dissolve” the notorious Trump Foundation for the sake of the national honor. What I’m saying is there is just so much slime anybody should be allowed to track over that magnificent carpet in the Oval Office.

Ha! Donald Trump thought he was finished with the Trump Foundation stench. Not so fast, says New York Attorney General Spokesperson Amy Spitalnick. Previously the Attorney General’s office ordered the Trump Foundation to cease and desist taking contributions in the state:

The New York attorney general disclosed Monday that it ordered Donald Trump’s personal charity to cease fundraising immediately after determining that the foundation was violating state law by soliciting donations without proper authorization.

The message was conveyed in a “notice of violation” sent Friday to the Donald J. Trump Foundation, of which Trump is president.

The night before, The Washington Post reported that Trump’s foundation — which has subsisted entirely on other people’s donations since 2008 — had failed to register with the state as a charity soliciting money.

Because of that, Trump’s foundation had avoided rigorous annual audits that New York state requires of charities that seek the public’s money. Those audits would have asked, among other things, if the foundation’s money had been used to benefit Trump or one of his businesses.

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Now the state of New York refuses to allow the dissolution of the Trump Foundation until some matters get cleared up. What these matters might be, we can only imagine.

On 20 January Donald Trump will be sworn in as the 45th President of the United States. Does anybody know how to spell “banana republic?”

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One thought on “Treasure Chest

  1. Pingback: Snowflake Constituency | Skeptical Analysis

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