Donald Trump reportedly used hundreds of thousands from his charity to settle legal woes


Donald Trump reportedly used hundreds of thousands from his charity to settle legal woes
Source: AP
Source: AP

Donald Trump reportedly used hundreds of thousands of dollars from his charitable foundation to end legal disputes that involved his business dealings, the Washington Post reported Tuesday, an apparent violation of long-standing tax laws. 

According to the Washington Post, Trump used of $258,000 from his charitable foundation — which Post reporter David Fahrenthold says is funded nearly exclusively from other people's money rather than Trump's — to end lawsuits surrounding his for-profit business dealings.

Using those charitable funds to pay legal fines or settle lawsuits is a violation of "self-dealing" laws, according to the Washington Post — which are rules that prohibit non-profit leaders from using charitable donations to aid their own for-profit interests.

"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," Jeffrey Tenenbaum, a lawyer who advises charities, told the Post.

The revelation that Trump possibly violated tax laws by using his charity to settle legal troubles is the latest in a series of damning stories to arise from Trump's charity.

Last month, the Post reported that the Trump Foundation paid a fine to the IRS, after the foundation donated $25,000 to a group backing Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi in 2013  — a strictly prohibited practice. 

However, while Trump rectified the tax implications of that donation, the political and legal ramifications are still ongoing.

The New York Attorney General is currently investigating, among other matters related to Trump's charity, whether the donation to Pam Bondi was a bribe by Trump. At the time, Bondi was considering joining a fraud lawsuit against Trump University, but decided against it after Trump donated to her campaign.

The Post has also found that Trump used the charity's funds to buy expensive items, such as a $12,000 football helmet signed by former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow, as well as $20,000 on a six-foot painting of Trump. 

The Clinton campaign came out swinging in response to the latest revelations.

"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," Clinton spokeswoman Christina Reynolds said in an emailed statement.

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Emily C. Singer

Emily C. Singer, née Cahn, is a senior writer for Mic covering politics. She is based in New York and can be reached at esinger@mic.com

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