Just when you thought that the POTUS could not sink any lower, he had had his fingers caught in the charity box aimed at supporting veterans and other charitable causes. Trump fined 2 million for stealing money from veterans sounds like an astonishing headline, but today this type of behaviour is the new normal and type of shifty dealing that continually dogs the president.
The Donald J Trump Foundation was established in 1988 in order to distribute proceeds from his Book – “The Art of the Deal,” to charitable causes. The charity was housed at the Trump Organization in New York City with the board of directors made up from Trump family members. There was also a treasurer – an accountant named Allen Weisselberg.
The Foundation seems to have been chaotic with no clear structure, office space, or any other of the usual framework you would expect from a legitimate charity. According to Weisselberg who says he was unaware he was even still on the board, there had been no official meeting since 1999.
However Trump has donated and raised money for the foundation and there are also private wealthy outside donors, most notably Vince and Linda Mcmahon the owners of the wrestling foundation WWE. Many of these high rolling business people have contributed to the charity in what seems like personal favours to Trump, and they have benefited from tax exemptions in return.
Trump admitted that the foundation had given his presidential campaign control over about $2.8 million of money raised at a veteran’s fund-raiser in Iowa in January 2016. Trump acknowledged the fund-raiser was in fact a campaign event but this was not how it was portrayed at the time.
All of this was tolerated but in November 2019 the New York attorney general filed a lawsuit accusing the president and his family of using the foundation as an extension of their businesses and the campaign.
There have been a string of offences including mishandling funds raised for veteran’s causes. Trump has admitted he misused funds raised by the Donald J. Trump Foundation to promote his presidential bid and pay off business debts.
So instead of the Foundation money going to good causes, Trump used Foundation money for a range of purposes including a $10,000 portrait of himself, funding a golf club in Westchester County, N.Y., and putting money into Mar-a-Lago, his private club in Florida.
The Foundation was disbanded in December 2019, and Trump was fined $2 million, which he was ordered to pass onto eight charities or $250,000 per charity. Under the settlement, Trump’s lawyers also agreed to liquidate the Trump Foundation’s remaining assets of more than $1.7 million and disburse them to those same nonprofits, which have no connection to the president or his family.
With Trump fined 2 million and now some of this money finally in the hands of the charitable organizations, don’t be misled into thinking that this affair has all blown over. There have been millions of dollars given by ordinary people to support charities and even in spite of the ruling, most of the money raised by the Trump Foundation has remained firmly within the grasp of Donald Trump’s tiny hands.