Let’s say one of your favorite celebrities starts their own charity. You see an ad on Facebook asking you to donate some cash so the money can go to “worthwhile causes” that help and support people.
Now let’s say that same celebrity has run up some huge legal bills from a number of lawsuits. And they take the money you’ve donated and give it their lawyers to pay off legal fees.
Was that the type of “worthwhile cause” you were thinking about?
Well, that’s exactly what Donald Trump did. He spent $258,000 from his charity to settle business fines and lawsuits.
He not only has failed to donate any cash to his own charity since 2009, he used your charitable donations to solve his legal troubles.
“I represent 700 nonprofits a year, and I’ve never encountered anything so brazen,” Jeffrey Tenebaum, a lawyer at Venable law firm in Washington, told the Washington Post. “If he’s using other people’s money — run through his foundation — to satisfy his personal obligations, then that’s about as blatant an example of self-dealing as I’ve seen in a while.”
“That’s way across the line,” said Lloyd Mayer, a professor at Notre Dame Law School who specializes in nonprofit and tax law. “It’s not even close. It’s clearly self-dealing for a private foundation like the Trump Foundation.”
Legal or not, Trump also took $10,000 from his charity to buy this portrait of himself.
Donald Trump won’t release his tax returns before the election — like he promised a year ago — because he hasn’t given a dime to veterans charities like he’s claimed.
Think of it. A billionaire New York City reality TV host who has been paying little or no federal taxes (which support veterans programs among many other things) and who has lied about donating $10 million to charities.
If this were any other presidential candidate, in any other election year, their campaign would be over.
For some reason, however, all of this is forgivable if you’re a Trump supporter, right? He has said he could walk out to the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot someone and his supporters wouldn’t care. Maybe that’s true.
For undecided voters in battleground states, however, the truth could still matter.