The Washington Post’s intrepid reporter David Fahrenthold’s investigation into the Trump Foundation and the finances of Republican nominee Donald Trump have found yet another instance of foul play by the avaricious real estate mogul. It turns out that Trump has been using his tax-exempt charitable foundation as a vehicle for tax evasion by having companies that owe his money funnel it through the Foundation, allowing him to dodge the taxes on nearly $2.3 million in income.
For instance, the Trump Foundation received payments “totaling nearly $1.9 million from a man in New York City who sells sought-after tickets and one-of-a-kind experiences to wealthy clients.” Anonymous sources within the Trump organization indicate that the man, Richard Ebers, was instructed to pay Trump for goods and services to the Foundation instead.
This helps explain why people kept on “donating” to the Trump Foundation after it became clear that not even the man it was named after cared enough to put any money into it – his last donation was in 2008.
Senior Trump adviser Boris Epshteyn said that “what Trump did was provide a service, renounce any fees, and then merely ‘suggest’ that the other party make a donation to a charity of their choosing.” Which is the exact definition of shady business dealing.
The Head of the Internal Revenue Service’s non-profit watchdog agency, apparently extremely negligent in his monitoring of the Trump Foundation, was absolutely dumbfounded by what Fahrenthold’s investigation is uncovering. “This is so bizarre, this laundry list of issues. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen this, and I’ve been doing this for 25 years in the IRS, and 40 years total” said Marc Owens.
It is absolutely clear that Trump is violating the rules surrounding tax-exempt foundations, rules that were written to stop this exact kind of dishonest money laundering. The consequences of those violations bring monetary penalties, the loss of tax-exempt status, and possibly – if we’re lucky – criminal charges.
Trump has claimed innocence when queried on the issue. “Are you confident that the Trump Foundation has followed all charitable rules and laws?”asked journalist Sharyl Attkisson. “Well, I hope so…I mean, my lawyers do it” shrugged the Republican nominee.
The Trump Foundation has no paid staff, let alone lawyers, so draw your own conclusions from that. It is absolutely astonishing that the Trump campaign would have the nerve to go after the Clinton Foundation when his own “charity” is literally a money-laundering organization that is being used to perpetrate tax fraud, pay political bribes to unscrupulous Republican politicians investigating his other fraudulent businesses, and purchase $10,000 paintings of himself.
The polar opposite of charitable, Donald Trump’s greedy schemes border on the comical in their pervasiveness and extension. Corruption is his modus operandi, and we cannot allow him to turn our nation into a giant kleptocracy.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.