In a newly discovered tax record obtained by The Washington Post, the Trump Foundation openly admits to violating IRS regulations that prohibit nonprofits from “self-dealing” arrangements.
The document, posted on the Guidestar nonprofit database by Morgan Lewis and Bockius –the firm representing the Trump Foundation– show the smoking gun. In question 5 on page 5 of the form asking if the foundation had paid “income or assets to a disqualified person (or make any available for the benefit or use of a disqualified person),” the Trump Foundation checked the “yes” box. the Trump Foundation also answered “yes” to a question asking if the foundation had engaged in any self-dealing practices in past years.
The Post cites several instances of the Trump Foundation using donors’ money for improper purchases benefiting Donald Trump. In one particularly notorious instance, Trump used $20,000 of his foundation’s money to purchase a six-foot-tall portrait of himself. He also used spent as much as $258,000 of his foundation’s money to settle a lawsuit filed against him –not his nonprofit. And according to RealClearPolitics, Trump spent at least $286,000 in donations to the Trump Foundation to contribute to right-wing special interest groups.
Should the Trump Foundation be found by the IRS to have violated self-dealing regulations, it could be forced to pay excise taxes on the improper payouts, and money donated would have to be returned to the donors.
An investigation into the Trump Foundation by the office of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is ongoing.