Donald Trump isn't the kind of man to let a little thing like the IRS get in the way of winning a bidding war. It's exactly that brand of masc moxie that explains why the presumptive GOP nominee dropped $12,000 of his Donald J. Trump Foundation's own funds on a Denver Broncos helmet and jersey signed by quarterback Tim Tebow.
The Washington Post discovered the legally dubious $12,000 expenditure when reviewing the candidate's charity donations this week. If Trump is found to still own Tebow's helmet and jersey, it would be "a classic violation of the prohibition on a charity being operated for the private inurement (benefit) of the charity's creator," tax-exemptions expert Brett G. Kappel wrote to the Post.
The IRS rules Trump would be violating if he is discovered to have kept the helmet and jersey for himself are known as "self-dealing," and they're in place to ensure nonprofits don't become corrupt organizations in which top-level officials are spending charity funds on personal interests.
As the Post's David A. Fahrenthold writes, "If the rule is broken, the person who breaks it must notify the IRS, and may have to pay a tax penalty. There could also be penalties for signing a tax return that failed to mention the violation." Trump's organization signed it hadn't violated any self-dealing codes on its 2012 tax returns.
But it's not just potentially illegal: it's tacky. To put that $12,000 price tag into context, the Post's investigation found that Trump had donated only $10,000 in total to charity over the course of seven years.
One thing is for sure: The helmet and jersey don't appear to be in his fancy-yet-disorganized Manhattan offices, or at least it wasn't when he showed it off to the Wall Street Journal last year. But maybe because it only costs about $415 now online, according to the Post.