Remember way back in September when Washington Post reporter David A. Fahrenthold uncovered evidence Donald Trump used his titular foundation’s considerable wealth — money donated by others for charitable purposes — to buy a massive painting of himself? Since then, Fahrenthold’s investigation into the President-elect’s charitable spending (or lack thereof) has uncovered more proof he used the Trump Foundation to pay off lawsuits and other examples of “self-dealing,” a measure banned by the Internal Revenue Service. What’s more, if his latest article on the matter is accurate, then the Donald’s legal troubles are far from over.
Fahrenthold writes the Trump Foundation may have “admitted” it violated the self-dealing ban in a 2015 filing with the IRS. The forms, which were uploaded by the organization’s legal firm to the nonprofit-tracking website Guidestar on Monday night, contained two pertinent components with which its filers allegedly made the admission:
In one section of the form, the IRS asked if the Trump Foundation had transferred “income or assets to a disqualified person.” A disqualified person, in this context, might be Trump — the foundation’s president — or a member of his family, or a Trump-owned business.
The foundation checked “yes.”
Another line on the form asked if the Trump Foundation had engaged in any acts of self-dealing in prior years. The Trump Foundation checked “yes” again.
The Post was unable to confirm whether or not the forms in question had actually been sent to the IRS. Nor, for that matter, was Fahrenthold able to get an official comment from Trump campaign spokesperson Hope Hicks. As for New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office, which is currently investigating the foundation, their representative was only able to confirm with the Post that its “investigation is ongoing.”
However, Fahrenthold revealed the new forms included admissions by the foundation that it had in fact purchased, and at the time still owned, several of the items previously reported. Like Tim Tebow’s autographed helmet, which Trump allegedly bought at auction for $12,000. Turns out it (and the egregiously large painting) were all worth a whole lot less:
In the new 2015 tax filing, the Trump Foundation acknowledged for the first time that it owned these items. But it listed market values far below what the foundation had paid: the helmet was valued at $475. The portrait purchased for $20,000 was valued at $700. And the portrait purchased for $10,000 was valued at $500.
Additionally, the forms indicated the foundation received a donation from another business organization controlled entirely by Trump “for the first time in six years.” Specifically, donations of $566,370 and $50,000 from the Trump Corporation and Trump Productions, respectively. The latter, as it turns out, produces The Apprentice on NBC.
Trump himself has yet to respond to Fahrenthold’s latest, whether officially or on Twitter. Considering the vocal president-elect’s combative history with the Post reporter over his prior stories, however, something of either kind is sure to follow. Besides, considering the coincidental timing of its publication and the news that Trump won’t pursue new charges against Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server, an official comment may be necessary.
(Via Washington Post)