On CNN, Washington Post’s David Fahrenthold explained how Donald Trump used his charity to “benefit his businesses.”
KATE BOLDUAN (CO-HOST): A brand new report from TheWashington Post with this: Donald Trump, according to the Post, Donald Trump spent more than a quarter million dollars from his charitable foundation to settle lawsuits that involved the candidate’s for-profit businesses. The Washington Post‘s David Farenthold is the man behind this report, he’s joining us now. David, you have been continuing to dig into the charities. Please, tell us what you found.
DAVID FAHRENTHOLD: Well, these are two really interesting cases, both cases where a business that Trump ran got into some kind of legal trouble. In one case, it was a bunch of code violations in Florida. In another case, it was a lawsuit against one of his golf clubs in New York. In both cases, Trump’s businesses settled these lawsuits with a promise that they are going to give money to charity. And in both cases, it’s Trump’s charity, which is mostly filled with other people’s money, that actually pays off those bills. So Trump is using his charity to benefit his businesses, which is against the law.
JOHN BERMAN (CO-HOST): Yeah, and this is the type of thing that — what can happen to you — again, just to be clear here, the allegation would be that he’s using charitable money, other people’s money, charity money, to pay off corporate issues and settlements. What does the IRS do about this type of thing?
FAHRENTHOLD: Well I don’t know what the IRS is actually doing right now. They haven’t spoken about whether they’ve launched an investigation. The New York attorney general has launched an investigation, and he can enforce state charity laws in New York state. The potential penalties if someone is found to have committed an act of self-dealing, which is what they call this, then you’re talking penalty taxes, Trump might have to repay the money to the foundation that it gave away to help his businesses. But he could even lose tax exempt status. The Trump Foundation could effectively go away if he is found to have really done these things.
Transcript via Media Matters.