The Washington Post reports that Donald Trump misused his charities by using them to resolve legal settlements. The Post claims that through a process of personal interviews and a thorough review of legal documents, they have found that the not-for-profit charities used monies to “settle lawsuits that involved the billionaire’s for-profit business.
The laws that deal with this kind of activity are called “self-dealing,” which involves a person misusing his position by way of financial transaction, acting in his own best interest rather than in the interest of the beneficiaries of the organization providing the funds. In other words, self-dealing is a conflict of interest, which is a BIG no no, exacerbated by the fact that in this situation it involves a non-profit organization.
Here are the specific cases The Washington Post reported on:
2007 – a Trump Club in Palm Beach, FL was fined $120,000 over a flag-pole dispute. The case was settled – Trump agreed to make a $100,000 donation to veterans’ charities. A check was cut from the Trump Foundation (almost exclusively funded by donor monies).
A lawsuit brought against a Trump golf course was settled by way of donation to the charity of choice of the plaintiff, resulting in another check from the Trump Foundation, this time for $158,000.
2013 – $5,000 of Trump Foundation money was used to pay for marketing for his hotel chains.
2014 – $10,000 of Trump Foundation money was used to pay for the commissioning of a portrait of himself. (Years before, $20,000 was spent from the foundation to buy yet another, bigger portrait of the Donald.)