TRUSTING OUR PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES IN 2016

TRUMP “CHARITY” APPARENTLY ISN’T SO CHARITABLE AFTER ALL


You might recall recently that the Clinton Foundation has come under a great deal of scrutiny for providing millions to slush fund money to Bill, Hillary and Chelsea, for engaging in sophisticated “pay-to-play” schemes where big donors got jobs and contracts from the State Department while Hillary was Secretary of State, that Secretary Clinton met with Clinton Foundation donors while neglecting her official duties while at the State Department.  These allegations of criminal activity are not inconsequential.  They are serious.  They stem from a recent Associated Press investigation (Hey, at least such efforts still exist, right?), the findings of which were published in late August.  Naturally, the alt.righwing folks glommed onto the revelations and there was – as there usually is when any Clinton criminal allegation is revealed in the mainstream media – an explosion of Breaking News Headlines about the corruption of Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation. 

You might also recall that the AP allegations were roundly criticized since the “pay-to-play” allegations were based on Clinton’s having met with 85 Clinton Foundation donors that were encapsulated by the piece’s opening sentence: 

“More than half the people outside the government who met with Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of state gave money — either personally or through companies or groups — to the Clinton Foundation. It's an extraordinary proportion indicating her possible ethics challenges if elected president.”  

The AP’s 85 were culled from a total of 154 such donors during Clinton’s four year tenure as Secretary of State, thus the “more-than-half” “statistic.” 

Problem is that this 85 and 154 “statistics” aren't real world “statistics” at all.  The AP “cherry-picked” its “data” in order to come up with their “pay-to-play” allegations and took no account of the thousands of meetings with government employees, foreign representatives, civil leaders, journalists and others, Clinton had while Secretary of State. These were not accounted for in the AP's “investigative” report.  But the AP article allowed Donald Trump to stand on stage at a campaign rally and declare that "fifty percent of people who saw [Clinton] had to make a contribution to the Clinton Foundation."  Thankfully, the AP’s biased “investigative journalism” efforts began to fall apart a day after the article was published and have since been thoroughly debunked. 

On the other side of the Presidential campaign, you’ve probably seen over the past couple of days how the New York Times actually called Donald Trump “a liar” in print.  Quite a turnaround for our news media who, following a Supreme Court ruling in Susan B. Anthony vs. Steven Driehaus that condoned political lying as constitutionally protected speech, had simply stopped calling out politicians for their lies.  This event concerned Trump’s “Birther Movement” where he publicly stated that his Birther Movement was Clinton’s fault. 

Perhaps in the new world of not accepting every word that flows from a politician’s mouth as Gospel truth, The Washington Post has been investigating the Donald Trump charitable organizations and his charitable contributions.  Let’s compare their findings in an article published today ( TRUMP'S CHARITY ) with the Clinton Foundation.

Donald Trump spent more than a quarter-million dollars from his charitable foundation to settle lawsuits that involved the billionaire’s for-profit businesses, according to interviews and a review of legal documents.

Those cases, which together used $258,000 from Trump’s charity, were among four newly documented expenditures in which Trump may have violated laws against “self-dealing” — which prohibit nonprofit leaders from using charity money to benefit themselves or their businesses.

1.   In one case, from 2007, Trump’s Mar-a-Largo Club faced $120,000 in unpaid fines from the town of Palm Beach, Fla., resulting from a dispute over the height of a flagpole.  In a settlement, Palm Beach agreed to waive those fines — if Trump’s club made a $100,000 donation to a specific charity for veterans. Instead, Trump sent a check from the Donald J. Trump Foundation, a charity funded almost entirely by other people’s money, according to tax records.

2.   The other expenditures involved smaller amounts. In 2013, Trump used $5,000 from the foundation to buy advertisements touting his chain of hotels in programs for three events organized by a D.C. preservation group. And in 2014, Trump spent $10,000 of the foundation’s money on a portrait of himself bought at a charity fundraiser.

Or, rather, another portrait of himself.

Several years earlier, Trump used $20,000 from the Trump Foundation to buy a different, six-foot-tall portrait.

3.  In 2013, for instance, the foundation gave $25,000 to a political group supporting Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi (R). That gift was made about the same time that Bondi’s office was considering whether to investigate fraud allegations against Trump University. It didn’t.

Tax laws say nonprofit groups such as the Trump Foundation may not make political gifts. Trump staffers blamed the gift on a clerical error. After The Post reported on the gift to Bondi’s group this spring, Trump paid and reimbursed the Trump Foundation for the $25,000 donation.  Trump has been fined by the IRS for this "clerical error." 


4.  In 2012, Trump spent $12,000 of the foundation’s money to buy a football helmet signed by then-NFL quarterback Tim Tebow.

And in 2007, Trump’s wife, Melania, bid $20,000 for the six-foot-tall portrait of Trump, done by a “speed painter” during a charity gala at Mar-a-Largo. Later, Trump paid for the painting with $20,000 from the foundation.

In these cases, tax experts said, Trump was not allowed to simply keep these items and display them in a home or business. They had to be put to a charitable use.


Here are the details on another Mar-a-Largo “contribution:

Trump erected a flagpole at his development that violated the town’s regulations concerning the height of such structures.  The regulations limit flagpoles to 42 feet while Trump’s was 80 feet high.  The town fined Trump $1,250 per day while the violation remained.   

The town waived the $120,000 in fines. In September 2007, Trump wrote the town a letter, saying he had done his part as well.

“I have sent a check for $100,000 to Fisher House,” he wrote. The town had chosen Fisher House, which runs a network of comfort homes for the families of veterans and military personnel receiving medical treatment, as the recipient of the money. Trump added that, for good measure, “I have sent a check for $25,000” to another charity, the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial.

Trump provided the town with copies of the checks, which show that they came from the Trump Foundation.

In Palm Beach, nobody seems to have objected to the fines assessed on Trump’s business being erased by a donation from a charity.

“I don’t know that there was any attention paid to that at the time. We just saw two checks signed by Donald J. Trump,” said John Randolph, the Palm Beach town attorney. “I’m sure we were satisfied with it.”

In the other case in which a Trump Foundation payment seemed to help settle a legal dispute, the trouble began with a hole-in-one.

In 2010, a man named Martin Greenberg hit a hole-in-one on the 13th hole while playing in a charity golf tournament at Trump’s course in Westchester County, N.Y.
Greenberg won a $1 million prize. Briefly.

Later, Greenberg was told that he had won nothing. The prize’s rules required that the shot had to go 150 yards. But Trump’s course had allegedly made the hole too short.
Greenberg sued.

Eventually, court papers show, Trump’s golf course signed off on a settlement that required it to make a donation to a group of Greenberg’s choosing. Then, on the day that the parties informed the court they had settled their case, a $158,000 donation was sent to the Martin Greenberg Foundation.

That money came from the Trump Foundation, according to the tax filings of both Trump’s and Greenberg’s foundations, which if true, is illegal. 


Here’s the bottom line about the examples revealed in the Washington Post:

Internal Revenue Regulations prohibit the use of charity funds for private purposes and in each of these cases it would appear that Trump did indeed use Trump Foundation money to settle private disputes and claims against him.  This is called “self-dealing” and it is against the law.

So here we have fairly clear cut cases of violations of IRS rule and regulations.  In fact, Donald Trump – his Foundation – has already been fined by the IRS for improper use of foundation money in the Pam Bondi case.  We are not talking “theory” here, conspiracy or otherwise.   While the Clinton Foundation gets top ratings from charity watch groups, the Trump Foundation is either unrated or receives dubious evaluations. 

Yet, despite all facts to the contrary, Donald Trump derides the Clinton Foundation

"It's impossible to figure out where the Clinton Foundation ends and the State Department begins," Trump said Tuesday night in Texas. "It is now abundantly clear that the Clintons set up a business to profit from public office. They sold access and specific actions by and to them for money."

“The Clinton Foundation is “the most corrupt enterprise in political history,”

What’s kind of interesting is that if you Google The Donald J. Trump Foundation, what you come up with are mounds of negative articles about the enterprise.  Google the Clinton Foundation and what you come up with are mounds of positive articles.  And despite Presidential Candidate Donald Trump’s accusations about Hillary Clinton’s “pay-to-play” scheme while Secretary of State, there is not a shred of evidence that this was the case. 

But, when it comes to Hillary we automatically “distrust” her and the unsupported Clinton Foundation allegations of criminal activity is why.  When it comes The Donald we must take him at his word and trust him even though it is a fact that he has played fast and loose with the law. 


NOTE: Here’s Vice Presidential nominee, Mike Pence, weak-assed attempt to defend the activities of the Trump Foundation as a result of the Post’s finings:


Right! It’s kind of pitiful to say the least.

ULTIMATE BOTTOM LINE:

Clinton Foundation = No Evidence Of Malfeasance

Trump Foundation = Proven Malfeasance By The IRS


Have a good day!












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