Donald Trump shelled out more than $250,000 to handle his legal bills. On the surface, it’s not a shocking headline. But the source of that money is causing some controversy.
Trump used $258,000 of his charity’s money to settle lawsuits that involved his for-profit companies. The Washington Post made the discovery during a review of legal documents. There’s now concern that the Republican presidential nominee may have violated laws against “self-dealing.” Those laws prohibit nonprofit leaders from using their charities’ money for their personal gain or for their businesses.
In one instance, one of Trump’s golf courses agreed to settle a lawsuit by making a donation to a charity of the plaintiff’s choosing. The Donald J. Trump Foundation made a $158,000 donation.
Another case involved $120,000 in unpaid fines over the size of a flagpole at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club. Trump was able to avoid the fines by making a $100,000 donation to a veterans’ charity. The check Trump sent was from his foundation, not the club. The Post reports that tax records show the payment was funded “almost entirely by other people’s money.”
Two years ago, Trump spent $10,000 of the foundation’s money to buy a portrait of himself at a charity fundraiser. It was the second time Trump used the foundation’s money to buy a portrait of himself.
If the checks violated self-dealing rules, the IRS could force Trump to pay penalty taxes or pay the foundation for what he spent.
Trump has been critical of how Bill and Hillary Clinton run their foundation, calling the Clinton Foundation “the most corrupt enterprise in political history.”
Bill Clinton touted the work of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) at the organization’s 12th and final annual meeting Monday, in New York. The CGI — an arm of the family’s foundation — brings together leaders to implement solutions to global challenges. Without addressing his wife’s opponent by name, Clinton told attendees the CGI has helped 435 million people since its founding in 2005.