During last year’s campaign, the Clinton Foundation was often painted as some evil, pay-for-play empire the family was using to funnel money into their pockets from people all over the world who were looking to buy influence. While that played well to the millions of Republicans (and some on the far-left) who desperately wanted to see her fail — the facts didn’t support these conspiracies.
Not only is the Clinton Foundation an A-rated charity that donates 88 percent of all the money it raises to charitable causes, but the Clinton family has never accepted a salary from the organization.
Who needs facts though, right?
While most eyes were on the Clinton Foundation, far less attention was being paid to Donald Trump and the charities tied to his family. This was clearly a huge mistake considering, based on an extremely damning report from Forbes, it appears large sums of money meant to fight children’s cancer were funneled from the Eric Trump Foundation into his family’s company, Trump Organization.
According to the extensive investigation:
In reviewing filings from the Eric Trump Foundation and other charities, it’s clear that the course wasn’t free–that the Trump Organization received payments for its use, part of more than $1.2 million that has no documented recipients past the Trump Organization. Golf charity experts say the listed expenses defy any reasonable cost justification for a one-day golf tournament.
Additionally, the Donald J. Trump Foundation, which has come under previous scrutiny for self-dealing and advancing the interests of its namesake rather than those of charity, apparently used the Eric Trump Foundation to funnel $100,000 in donations into revenue for the Trump Organization.
And while donors to the Eric Trump Foundation were told their money was going to help sick kids, more than $500,000 was re-donated to other charities, many of which were connected to Trump family members or interests, including at least four groups that subsequently paid to hold golf tournaments at Trump courses.
Forbes found further proof when costs for a golf tournament suddenly skyrocketed:
For the first four years of the golf tournament, from 2007 to 2010, the total expenses averaged about $50,000, according to the tax filings. Not quite the zero-cost advantage that a donor might expect given who owned the club but at least in line with what other charities pay to host outings at Trump courses, according to a review of ten tax filings for other charitable organizations.
But in 2011, things took a turn. Costs for Eric Trump’s tournament jumped from $46,000 to $142,000, according to the foundation’s IRS filings. Why would the price of the tournament suddenly triple in one year? “In the early years, they weren’t being billed [for the club]–the bills would just disappear,” says Ian Gillule, who served as membership and marketing director at Trump National Westchester during two stints from 2006 to 2015 and witnessed how Donald Trump reacted to the tournament’s economics. “Mr. Trump had a cow. He flipped. He was like, ‘We’re donating all of this stuff, and there’s no paper trail? No credit?’ And he went nuts. He said, ‘I don’t care if it’s my son or not–everybody gets billed.'”
In other words, Eric Trump was taking money raised by his charity, apparently hundreds of thousands of dollars (at least), to pay to use his father’s golf club. Money that, of course, went directly to his family’s company — Trump Organization.
What’s even worse is, according to the experts Forbes spoke with, the costs of these tournaments don’t add up, either:
Thus it’s hard to figure out what happened to the money. All the listed costs are direct expenses: Items like overhead and salaries appear elsewhere in its IRS filings. Even if the Eric Trump Foundation had to pay the full rate for literally everything, Forbes couldn’t come up with a plausible path to $322,000 given the parameters of the annual event (a golf outing for about 200 and dinner for perhaps 400 more). Neither could golf tournament experts or the former head golf professional at Trump National Westchester. “If you gave me that much money to run a tournament, I couldn’t imagine what we could do,” says Patrick Langan, who worked at the club from 2006 to 2015. “It certainly wasn’t done that way.”
So it’s not just the fact that the Eric Trump Foundation was apparently paying his father’s company hundreds of thousands of dollars in charitable contributions that were supposed to be going toward fighting children’s cancer, it also appears, at least on the surface, that they were paying far more money than they should have been for these tournaments.
That’s really… really bad.
It’s pathetic enough that a father would charge his own child’s charity — or any any charity, for that matter — to use his facilities, but to seemingly overcharge that charity is reprehensible.
Whether or not any of this was illegal is a matter law enforcement may have to look into. However, even if all of this was ultimately legal, it’s still extremely shady. Furthermore, legal or not, this is another prime example of how unethical, greedy, and pathetic Trump is. Knowing all the money Donald Trump claims he’s worth, he still has no problem charging a children’s cancer charity — and apparently overcharging them in many instances — to use his facilities.
This is exactly why I’ve repeatedly said you can’t call yourself a Christian, or even a decent person, really, while supporting a vile bottom-feeder like Donald Trump.
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