Hey, At Least Donald Trump’s Foundation Is Unethical In Unequivocal And Straightforward Ways!


It is unethical for charitable foundations to serve as tax-free conduits to personally benefit one of its officers. It’s also illegal. The Donald J. Trump Foundation can certainly give a grant to a cause that Trump himself approves of and supports. If, however, that otherwise legitimate cause is an organization that employs his mistress (just hypothesizing here), or one that is chaired by a major contributor to his campaign in what looks like a quid pro-quo deal, or is a cause favored by a Senator who then votes for a bill favored by President Trump, these are all unethical abuses of a charitable foundation’s integrity. They are also common abuses that personal foundations regularly engage in and get away with. Another unethical use of charitable funds is to allow the foundation employ relatives and friends of foundation leaders at high salaries. Again, this is business as usual for many foundations, and is, while unethical, very difficult to stop.

If, however, a foundation that has tax exempt status uses funds that by law must only be used for charitable activities in ways that directly profit an individual connected to the foundation’s management, that’s a version of money laundering and a fraudulent use of charitable grants. There are no nuances there, none of the spin, legalisms and rationalizations used by the Clintons to justify their foundation’s unethical machinations. It’s just plain, unvarnished, unethical, illegal abuse.

That’s what Donald Trump has used his foundation for:

  • In 2007, Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club had to pay  $120,000  fines from the town of Palm Beach, Florida. Palm Beach agreed to waive those fines, and avoid litigation challenging their validity, if Trump would make  a $100,000 donation to a charity for veterans. Instead of making the contribution with his own money, or the club’s money, Trump had his foundation make the contribution (above), which was primarily composed of tax-deductible gifts to his foundation  from others. Trump’s business’s fine was essentially paid by the foundation, and the beneficiary was Trump.
  • One of Trump’s golf courses settled a lawsuit by making a $158,000 donation to the plaintiff’s favorite charity. Again, the Trump Foundation, gave the money, according to tax records.
  • In 2013, Trump directed the Trump Foundation to pay $5,000 for  advertisements touting his chain of hotels in programs for fundraising three events organized by a D.C. preservation group.

Finally, In 2014, Trump’s foundation  paid $10,000  at charity fundraiser for a portrait of himself.

Of these, only the last one is  ambiguous, though it is the most repulsive. It doesn’t really matter if the Foundation paid for a picture of Trump or Mickey Mouse, if it the purchase constituted a legitimate gift to a legitimate charity. (No portrait of Trump is worth $10,000. Velvet Elvises are more artful.) Naturally, this is the incident that has received the most publicity, since the news media has no interest in enlightening  the public,  just pushing their buttons.  It is more “ick” than unethical: does Trump personally benefit from another portrait of himself?

Still, taken as a whole, these are examples of a man ham-handedly ignoring the law and using his Foundation to pay for his own needs, not those in need, and not being very clever about it, either. Hillary and Bill could give him some lessons on how to run a corrupt foundation and get away with it, or at least give a media cheering-section something to spin with.

The slimy Trump Foundation abuses encapsulate what has become the go-to argument for those who try to argue that Trump is still a better risk than Hillary: she is likely to get away with her outrages, and he isn’t. Another way of putting it is that she’s smarter than he is.

Has there ever been a more desperate rationalization to vote for a presidential candidate? I can’t imagine what it would be.


Source: Washington Post

13 thoughts on “Hey, At Least Donald Trump’s Foundation Is Unethical In Unequivocal And Straightforward Ways!

  1. It is more “ick” than unethical: does Trump personally benefit from another portrait of himself?

    You could say it gratifies him more than it benefits him.

    Take that as you will.

  2. Wealthy people collect a lot of assets besides money. Prestige, statues of themselves, foundations/buildings/schools named after them, the ability to party with celebrities, world travel, glowing portrayals in movie cameos and news features, basically any experience that the normals can’t have.

    In the social media era, EVERYBODY wants this stuff, inasmuch as they can get it, selfie it, and then add it to their Twitter bios and blog about it, thus assuring themselves that they are significant and lead amazing lives. Rich and powerful people have the added benefit of being able to pay for those things. And most of them can be bought, nice and legal, and sometimes even under the banner of philanthropy.

    • If a nation can be so inept as to elect such a president, who is to say we’d be competent enough to impeach them? Trump has moved the Overton Window so far that if he does get elected, all reasonable bets are off. The fact that he made it this far and still enjoys the level of support he has makes no logical sense.

      • Chris, *I* am here to say there would be enough “competence,” just lying around (if you get my double meaning), like fruit fallen from some neglected tree, to impeach a president who was elected by the same voter ineptitude that would elect someone like Trump to the presidency.

        You obviously overlook the hysteria that followed the Obama candidacy in 2008 – powered in part by an embittered, seething, amalgamated mass of sufferers of Bush Burnout, post-2001 American military supremacy-loathing, “nation-building” (aka “global babysitting”) burnout, a teetering economy, and THE FIRST BLACK PRESIDENT WHO WILL FIX IT ALL!

        We all now have suffered eight more years of such self-inflicted mass lobotomization of the electorate. Americans are now more easily suckered than ever before – but boy, do they know whom to blame for that, and of course it isn’t themselves. So they’ll vote an all-assholes ticket, without even knowing it…and if Trump manages to make the top of the pile, the rest of them will impeach him before the stink of their shit starts to be smelled – or, before the fickle, gullible public gets focused on the impeachers’ stink.

    • The timeline for the donation and investigation didn’t line up and there were no complaints at the time. Not that I think for one second that Trump wouldn’t do it but I prefer facts over innuendo.

        • I was typing on the fly, as I am now, “complaints” as in charges or claims of wrong doing. From what I read of the timeline a donation was solicited, given than only sometime later claims related to trump u came up, dems were claiming trump paid bondi to make “it” go away.

          • The timeline was pretty darned close. He wrote it 4 days before the Sentinel brought up the Trump U complaints to Bondi, and cashed 4 days after, and then decided not to investigate. That’s a pretty tight timeline either way, unless you’re a Trump backer. It wouldn’t be outlandish to think news of the investigation by the Sentinel might have reached the Trump Foundation in the prior week+ as well.

            • It was from a solicitation from bondi, I am no trump supporter but I think you need to find a better argument, this incident is a poor example

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