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Trump used charity funds to fund his legal bills, according to The Washington Post

The cases involved a combined $258,000 paid out by the Donald J. Trump Foundation – a charity almost entirely funded with other people’s money.

A copy of a cheque that shows a payment of $25,000 from the Donald J. Trump Foundation to And Justice For All (a political committee) signed by Donald J. Trump.
A copy of a cheque that shows a payment of $25,000 from the Donald J. Trump Foundation to And Justice For All (a political committee) signed by Donald J. Trump.
Image: J. David Ake

US PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE Donald Trump reportedly used funds from his charitable foundation to pay settlements in legal cases involving his businesses, an apparent violation of charities laws.

The cases involved a combined $258,000 (€231,000) paid out by the Donald J. Trump Foundation – a charity almost entirely funded with other people’s money, the newspaper said – and follow a review of legal documents and the foundation’s tax records.

The Washington Post carried out an extensive investigation into the charity’s finances, finding that Trump himself has not contributed a dollar since 2009.

The group is funded by donations from third parties instead.

One of the group’s suspect payments was a $100,000 donation to a veterans’ charity in 2007 as part of a legal settlement with the city of Palm Beach, Florida.

Trump had sued the city after it fined him $120,000, or $1,250 per day, for erecting an 80-foot (24-meter) flagpole at his Mar-a-Lago Club that exceeded the maximum 42 feet permitted by local regulations.

The Trump Foundation also made transactions that appeared to be exclusively for the benefit of the real estate mogul or his businesses, apparently in violation of regulations governing charities, the Washington Post said.

Britain Campaign 2016 Trump Opponents of Donald Trump travel around central London today encouraging expats to register to vote in the upcoming US election. Source: Matt Dunham/PA

Life-size portrait

In one case, the charity paid $20,000 in 2007 for a six-foot portrait of Trump, the newspaper reported.

“Clearly the Trump Foundation is as much a charitable organisation as Trump University is an institute of higher education,” said Christina Reynolds, a spokeswoman for White House rival Hillary Clinton.

Once again, Trump has proven himself a fraud who believes the rules don’t apply to him.
It’s past time for him to release his tax returns to show whether his tax issues extend to his own personal finances.

Some Democrats have complained that the media has not sufficiently reported about the Trump Foundation’s suspected wrongdoing, accusing journalists of being lenient.

Trump’s campaign denied the Post report. ”The Trump Foundation has no paid board, no management fees, no rent or overhead, and no family members on its payroll,” spokesman Jason Miller said.

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Skittles

News outlets have also been criticised for being more keen to cover a tweet by Trump’s son comparing Syrian refugees to a bowl of colourful, poisonous Skittles candy.

“If I had a bowl of skittles and I told you just three would kill you. Would you take a handful?” he wrote. “That’s our Syria refugee problem.”

“If you are covering Skittles-gate instead Trump’s illegal use of his foundation, you are probably in journalism for the wrong reasons,” tweeted Dan Pfeiffer, a former top advisor to President Barack Obama.

- © AFP, 2016

Read: Donald Trump Junior just compared Syrian refugees to poisonous Skittles

Read: Bono says Trump is ‘potentially the worst idea that ever happened to America’

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