The Washington Post reported Donald Trump’s Charitable Foundation “voluntarily” corrected an “error”, after the Post’s investigation, in tandem with Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, revealed Trump had used his foundation to make a $25,000 contribution to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s campaign. To further complicate matters, this payment was made during the time Bondi was considering bringing charges against Trump University which she ultimately dropped. A complaint was filed with the IRS, which noted the Trump Foundation, a nonprofit, is not eligible to make political donations.
I will trace the accounting practices the Post covered and show why this demands further, immediate investigation. It defies belief this is just a series of “mistakes”, as Trump’s controller has had the audacity to state.
In 2013 Bondi “solicited a donation from Trump.” The Trump Foundation then reported $25,000 as a donation to a charity in Kansas with a similar name, which never received any money. Put on your seatbelt, because this explanation is a ride.
Trump decided to give to the group connected to Bondi, called “And Justice for All.”
Then, a request for a check was sent to an accounts-payable clerk at Trump’s headquarters. This clerk was empowered to cut checks from both Trump’s personal account and from the Trump Foundation. In most cases, political contributions were paid out of Trump’s own account. But, in this case, that didn’t happen.
In most cases? This is a political contribution. There are no exceptions. If something really questionable comes through, it should automatically be required to be approved by a manager/CFO.
In March, Trump’s chief financial officer told The Post that a mistake occurred when an accounting clerk — following office protocol — looked in a book that contained a list of all official charities. The clerk’s standing order from Trump was that, if the payee was listed in this book of charities, the check should be paid from the Trump Foundation, not from Trump’s own account. The clerk found a group called “And Justice for All” listed in the book. The clerk cut the check from the Trump Foundation. But that was wrong.
Why is there not a second signatory on the check? There should always be a second person required to verify a check written for such a large sum of money. If the check was inadvertently written to the wrong “charity”, why did it get mailed to the correct place?
That’s awfully coincidental (impossible). Separation of duties, in an organization larger than a mom and pop, demands more than one person touched this check. Period. More than one person was involved in this, or this is the most incompetently run organization on the planet. The CFO should resign immediately.
After that, a check from the foundation went out. It did not go to Utah but to Bondi’s group in Florida, and was deposited. Then, when the Trump Foundation sent in its tax filings that year, it compounded the original error by leaving out any mention of a political gift. When the IRS form asked if the Trump Foundation had spent money for political purposes that year, the foundation wrote “No.”
Then, the Trump Foundation told the IRS about a gift that did not exist. The foundation told the IRS that it had given $25,000 to a third group, a charity in Kansas with a similar name, “Justice for All.” In fact, the Trump Foundation had not actually sent the Kansas group any money. This new, incorrect listing had the effect of camouflaging the prohibited gift. Trump’s CFO said that the listing of the Kansas group was another mistake, made by the foundation’s accountants.
How in the hell did a third organization become involved in this? Is this the Olympics of Stupidity? Also, how did these other two groups ever get into the books in the first place? Is there a history of donations to them?
The Donald has reimbursed the Trump Foundation and paid a fine with the IRS, and now he is hoping this will all just magically go away. Absolutely not. If this were an individual, or the Clinton Foundation, all hell would be breaking loose. This is also further argument to see his tax returns. This is gross negligence, at a minimum, if not outright fraud. And it was discovered without even seeing his returns. Imagine what would happen if the Post got the documents…