According to a breaking news report from Forbes this Tuesday, President Trump‘s charity foundation funneled $100,000 in donations intended for Saint Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital into revenue for the Trump Organization.
Trump’s son Eric Trump hosted an annual golf tournament for 10 years that raised millions of dollars for the hospital, but as Forbes reports, $100,000-worth of donations were funneled through the Eric Trump Foundation back into Trump’s golf courses for tournament expenses, despite donors’ belief that all their money would go towards the charity.
And while donors to the Eric Trump Foundation were told their money was going to help sick kids, more than $500,000 was re-donated to other charities, many of which were connected to Trump family members or interests, including at least four groups that subsequently paid to hold golf tournaments at Trump courses.
All of this seems to defy federal tax rules and state laws that ban self-dealing and misleading donors. It also raises larger questions about the Trump family dynamics and whether Eric and his brother, Don Jr., can be truly independent of their father.
The order to bill the Eric Trump Foundation for hundreds of thousands of dollars came from none other than Donald Trump himself. If true, the revelations would signal a violation of both New York state law and federal law on self-dealing and misleading donors.
— David Fahrenthold (@Fahrenthold) June 6, 2017
Forbes reports that Katrina Kaupp, who was on the board of directors at the Eric Trump Foundation in 2010 and 2011, said Trump “insisted the charity start paying its own way, despite Eric’s public claims to the contrary.”
“We did have to cover the expenses,” Kaupp told Forbes. “The charity had grown so much that the Trump Organization couldn’t absorb all of those costs anymore.”
“I saw that Eric was getting billed,” said Ian Gillule, who served as membership and marketing director at Trump National Westchester during two stints from 2006 to 2015. “I would always say, ‘I can’t believe that his dad is billing him for a charitable outing.’ But that’s what they wanted.”
Kinda looks like the President stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from a charity for kids with cancer? https://t.co/BRUqF8jzc4
— Christopher Hayes (@chrislhayes) June 6, 2017
In December, Trump said he planned to dissolve his charity in order to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest. But New York’s attorney general Eric Schneiderman said he couldn’t dissolve the charity until a criminal probe was conducted.
“The Trump Foundation is still under investigation by this office and cannot legally dissolve until that investigation is complete,” a spokeswoman for New York Attorney General said in a statement according to The Hill.
You can read Forbes’ full report here.