Trump’s charity admits to violating IRS self-dealing ban
By CHAD DAY and MICHAEL BIESECKER
WASHINGTON — President-elect Donald Trump’s charity has admitted that it violated IRS regulations barring it from using its money or assets to benefit Trump, his family, his companies or substantial contributors to the foundation.
According to a 2015 tax return posted on the nonprofit monitoring website GuideStar, the Donald J. Trump Foundation acknowledged that it used money or assets in violation of the regulations not only during 2015, but in prior years.
The tax filing, first reported Tuesday by The Washington Post, doesn’t provide details on the violations. The filing’s release comes as the New York attorney general’s office investigates whether Trump personally benefited from the foundation’s spending, including several purchases detailed in reports by The Post.
Questions sent via email to Trump’s transition team weren’t immediately answered Tuesday.
The foundation’s admission in the tax filing isn’t the first time it has run afoul of laws and regulations governing charitable organizations.
In October, the office of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, a Democrat, ordered the foundation to stop soliciting donations after it was discovered that the charity had been accepting outside contributions without the proper New York state registration.
The foundation also gave an improper $25,000 check to a political committee supporting Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi in 2013.
Charities are barred from engaging in political activities, and the president-elect’s staff says the check he signed was mistakenly issued following a series of inexplicable clerical errors. Earlier this year, the Trump Foundation paid a $2,500 fine to the IRS over the check.
Trump had intended to use personal funds to support Bondi’s re-election, his campaign said. At the time, Bondi’s office was fielding media questions about whether she would follow the lead of Schneiderman, who had filed a lawsuit against Trump University and Trump Institute.
Scores of former students say they were scammed by Trump’s namesake get-rich-quick seminars in real estate. Bondi, who the AP reported in June personally solicited the $25,000 check from Trump, took no action against Trump University.
Trump last week settled three lawsuits over Trump University days before the scheduled start of a fraud trial in California, agreeing to pay out $25 million with no admission of wrongdoing. Bondi, meanwhile, met with Trump in Manhattan last week and appears to be under consideration for an appointment in the Trump administration.