Friday, November 8, 2019

Sweet Charity. With an Unexpected Kallstrom Appearance

For the record: Donald writes:

Donald Trump has not given major money to charity.

The Trump Foundation may have made donations of $19 million in the course of its now terminated existence between 1987 and 2017, as Trump's personal lawyer Alan J. Futerfas has repeatedly claimed over the past couple of years without offering any evidence, but it's known that Trump himself contributed just over $5.4 million to it, just a little more than the $5 million WWE executives Vince and Linda McMahon are known to have given the Trump Foundation (though this looks like a way of paying him for his appearances on the 2007 Wrestlemania, in a way that allowed him to evade taxes), and Trump hasn't given it a dime since 2008. Oprah Winfrey, by contrast, who is not supposed to be as rich as Trump, has built up a fund worth $242 million through her own donations$22.5 million over the single year 2018-19.

Nor, as we'll see, did every penny go to charitable causes. And $19 million isn't major money over a 30-year period; the Winfrey Foundation, again, using only the money Oprah herself has contributed, and its investment earnings, made donations of $19, 054,139 in the single year 2012, and usually disburses $8 million or more, per Pro Publica.

And the reason there were probably "almost no expenses" is that there was no organization—as the inestimable David Fahrenthold (who's responsible for all the uncredited facts in this post) put it in his 2016 Pulitzer-winning reporting,
The foundation has no paid staffers. It has an unpaid board consisting of four Trumps — Donald, Ivanka, Eric and Donald Jr. — and one Trump Organization employee.
In 2014, at last report, each said they worked a half-hour a week.
Which was a four-way lie: the board had never held a meeting. In fact, it was just Donald and his checkbook, and the acquaintances he'd call when he wanted to write a check: like the $150,000 he got from the Charles Evans Foundation of New Jersey on behalf of the Palm Beach Police Foundation, and then presented as a donation from the Trump Foundation to the police foundation, which in turn honored him, instead of the family of the late Mr. Evans, with a statue of a tree, in 2010:
On the night that he won the Palm Tree Award for his philanthropy, Trump may have actually made money. The gala was held at his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, and the police foundation paid to rent the room. It’s unclear how much was paid in 2010, but the police foundation reported in its tax filings that it rented Mar-a-Lago in 2014 for $276,463.
Nice work if you can get it! Parlaying $150K in Other People's Money into better than a quarter-million dollars of business income and a long-term customer.

In fact, Donald,
the New York Supreme Court ordered Donald J. Trump to pay $2 million in damages for improperly using charitable assets to intervene in the 2016 presidential primaries and further his own political interests... 
As part of the settlement, Attorney General James also announced that her office entered into multiple stipulations with the Trump Foundation and its directors to resolve the remaining claims in the lawsuit. Chiefly, Mr. Trump admits to personally misusing funds at the Trump Foundation, and agrees to restrictions on future charitable service and ongoing reporting to the Office of the Attorney General in the event he creates a new charity. The settlements also include mandatory training requirements for Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, and Eric Trump. Finally, the settlements name the charities that will receive the remaining assets [amounting to $1.75 million] of the Trump Foundation as part of its dissolution.

Lol, "impossible to deal with". You really are always looking for a deal, aren't you?

They did not find incredibly effective philanthropy and small technical violations; they found that complete lack of oversight, such as never having had a board meeting, "contributed" to the Trump Foundation breaking the law in seven important cases:
Another stipulation ensures that Donald Trump, Jr., Ivanka Trump, and Eric Trump received training on the duties of officers and directors of charities so that they cannot allow the illegal activity they oversaw at the Trump Foundation to take place again. 
The third stipulation includes 19 paragraphs of factual admissions by Mr. Trump and the Foundation of illegal activity. Mr. Trump admitted that the Foundation’s board of directors — of which he was chair — failed to meet, failed to provide oversight over the Foundation, and failed to adopt legally required policies and procedures. He also admitted that these failures “contributed to the Foundation’s participation” in seven related party transactions described in the settlement document and in the Attorney General’s lawsuit. 
With a particular emphasis on the case of the event of 28 January 2016 in Des Moines when Trump blew off a debate "because he would not be treated fairly by Fox News anchor and debate moderator Megyn Kelly" in favor of what was billed as a charity event for the Trump Foundation to raise $6 million for veterans' organizations, thrown together overnight. Some donors backed out, and the take was only $1.8 million, plus his personal pledge for an additional million (judging from reports of the settlement; Trump kept saying they'd raised five or six million before his pledge, and then campaign chairman Corey Lewandowski was putting it at $4.5 million). But all the Foundation did was serve as the bank; the Trump Campaign paid for the event ($500,000) and did all the work.

Also, four months later, it turned out that Trump hadn't contributed his million yet, of course, and it was only under pressure from a reporter (modest Fahrenthold, presumably, to whom the presidential candidate remarked, "You know, you’re a nasty guy. You’re really a nasty guy. I gave out millions of dollars that I had no obligation to do") that he finally appears to have ponied up, donating, I'm assuming, not on his own account but the Foundation's to, and this part is new to me, to an entity called the "Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation", chaired by James K. Kallstrom, to which the Foundation had already given some $230,000 and presented Trump with a Commandant's Leadership Award (in a gala at the Waldorf-Astoria, not a Trump venue).  Kallstrom's name is familiar to some readers as that of the ex-FBI agent Giuliani friend often thought to be the leader of the circle of New York agents who pressured director Comey into making the October surprise reveal of the Huma Abedin email "investigation" that may have contributed as much as Russian assistance did to the "defeat" of Hillary Clinton a week or so afterwards. Small world!

Anyway, Trump has admitted in the settlement that it was a campaign event, funded and controlled by the campaign, together with
a number of key facts about the other self-dealing transactions he initiated as chair — specifically, that he used Foundation funds to settle legal obligations of companies he controlled, and that the Foundation paid for a portrait of Mr. Trump that cost $10,000. As separate piece of the settlement Donald Trump Jr. reimbursed the Foundation for the cost of the portrait. The settlement also requires the Foundation to be reimbursed $11,525 for sports paraphernalia and champagne purchased at a charity gala.
So every word in that Twitter-issued "statement" is a lie. But you knew that,

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