The Washington Post’s David Fahrenthold recently revealed the Donald J. Trump Foundation frequently acted as the media mogul’s personal piggy bank.
"Donald Trump spent more than a quarter-million dollars from his charitable foundation to settle lawsuits that involved the billionaire’s for-profit businesses, according to interviews and a review of legal documents," he wrote.
"Those cases, which together used $258,000 from Trump’s charity, were among four newly documented expenditures in which Trump may have violated laws against 'self-dealing' — which prohibit nonprofit leaders from using charity money to benefit themselves or their businesses," he added.
When finally questioned about the misuse of his foundation’s cash by a local reporter in Columbus, Ohio, Trump gave a response that can be categorized as ridiculous at best.
He was asked to “explain to people why you may have used some charitable donations for personal uses.”
Trump’s answer was: “The foundation is really rare. It gives money to vets. It’s really been doing a good job. We put that to sleep just by putting out the last report.”
Ah... OK, if that's all you have to say Mr. Trump, but surely the question warranted a serious answer.
His campaign also issued a statement dismissing the reports as “peppered with inaccuracies and omissions from a biased reporter” but even that boils down to being more absurd than anything sensible.
"In typical Washington Post fashion, they’ve gotten their facts wrong,” the statement read. “It is the Clinton Foundation that is set up to make sure the Clintons personally enrich themselves by selling access and trading political favors. The Trump Foundation has no paid board, no management fees, no rent or overhead, and no family members on its payroll."
The campaign provided exactly zero evidence (or even baseless accusations) for anything Fahrenthold misreported or misrepresented in his piece. And we all know why — because he didn't. The Trump campaign simply has no leg to stand on in the face of this investigative piece.
The Post isn't the only publication to expose the swindling of funds by Trump. According to The Huffington Post, the billionaire’s campaign paid more than $500,000 in August to companies that he owns.
His fundraising event for veterans at Drake University earlier this year was also exposed to be a sham.
Trump set up a special website for the event: donaldtrumpforvets.com and promised that “100% of your donations will go directly to Veterans needs.”
However, if you actually make a contribution, an email is sent to you disclosing that the money donated goes directly to the Donald J. Trump Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
Also, Trump has not partnered with any specific veterans groups and channeled money to them directly, most likely because this was a last minute political stunt rather than a sincere effort to raise money for veterans.
As The Federalist reports, the Donald J. Trump Foundation has a very poor record of making donations to veterans — between 2009 and 2013, “Trump’s nonprofit donated more money to the Clinton Foundation than it did to veterans causes.”
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has opened an inquiry into the Donald J. Trump Foundation to ensure the Republican presidential nominee's charity was complying with state laws governing nonprofits.
"My interest in this issue really is in my capacity as regulator of nonprofits in New York state. And we have been concerned that the Trump Foundation may have engaged in some impropriety from that point of view," the elected Democratic official said.
He added: "We have been looking into the Trump Foundation to make sure it's complying with the laws that govern charities in New York."
After coming under intense media scrutiny over the issue, Trump told the Post he had given $1 million donation to a group that provides scholarships to the children of fallen Marines.
He even called a press conference to blast reporters who had questioned the whereabouts of the money he had raised for the veterans during the televised event. To prove his point, his campaign also released the names of the charities.
Interestingly, about half of the charities mentioned had not received the funds until May 24 — the same day The Washington Post had questioned Trump about the money. The Associated Press spoke with 30 of the 41 organizations listed and about half of them said they did not receive a check until last week.