It’s illegal to use money meant for charity to purchase stuff for yourself and it looks like Donald Trump definitely broke the law.
In 2012, the Republican nominee participated in a bidding war over an autographed Tim Tebow football helmet and eventually won with a bid of $12,000. Clearly, Trump overpaid for the item.
The auction was in support of the Susan G. Komen Foundation, which suffered a serious backlash the same year when it tried to take funding away from Planned Parenthood in protest of abortion, thus depriving women of breast cancer screenings that the money paid for. The ensuing outrage forced the Komen organization to reinstate the funding.
The Koman Foundation lost a lot of support over the scandal but Donald Trump pumped $12,000 into the organization for a worthless helmet. There normally wouldn’t be a problem with that. After all people can spend their money on anything they want. But Trump didn’t personally pay for the helmet himself. Instead, he took funds out of his own charity to pay for it.
That’s right. Trump did not pay for the item with a single dime of his own personal fortune. He used money donated by other people to his Donald Trump Foundation to make the purchase.
Well, the Washington Post consulted some tax experts to find out if Trump broke the law and this is what they had to say:
“That would be a classic violation of the prohibition on a charity being operated for the private inurement (benefit) of the charity’s creator,” wrote Brett G. Kappel, an expert on tax-exempt organizations at the Akerman law firm in Washington. The Trump Foundation does not appear to have offices of its own. It is headquartered at Trump’s business offices in New York and has no full-time staff.
The best case for Trump, experts said, would be if he had given the helmet and jersey away to another charity, perhaps to be auctioned off at another fundraiser.
“If … the foundation paid for it, and they owned the helmet, and the helmet was given to someone as a charitable activity,” that would be enough, said John Edie, now retired, who was the longtime general counsel at the Council on Foundations.
Edie said Trump could not get off the hook by simply giving the memorabilia to a friend.
“Spending $12,000 for a helmet and then giving it to a golfing buddy is not” charity, Edie said.
In short, Trump is clearly hiding his tax returns for a reason or multiple reasons that could seriously damage his already sinking campaign. And by the way, the man who claims to be great at making deals clearly failed to see the bad deal he was making when he bought a football helmet signed by a guy who couldn’t hack it in the NFL. The Washington Post reports that Trump’s $12,000 memorabilia is now only worth just over $400 today. And if you ask me, that price is still too high.
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