This story didn’t get much notice when it was reported on Monday because there was some other shiny object that we were all occupied with, but this could be big news.
Donald Trump’s charitable foundation has received approximately $2.3 million from companies that owed money to Trump or one of his businesses but were instructed to pay Trump’s tax-exempt foundation instead, according to people familiar with the transactions.
In cases where he diverted his own income to his foundation, tax experts said, Trump would still likely be required to pay taxes on the income. Trump has refused to release his personal tax returns. His campaign said he paid income tax on one of the donations, but did not respond to questions about the others.
That gift was a $400,000 payment from Comedy Central, which owed Trump an appearance fee for his 2011 “roast.”
Then there were 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.
Previously, The Post reported that the Trump Foundation appears to have violated laws against “self-dealing,” which prohibit nonprofit leaders from using charity money to help themselves. In particular, Trump appeared to use $258,000 from the charity to help settle lawsuits involving a golf course and an oceanside club. Trump also spent charity money to buy two portraits of himself, including one that he hung in the bar of one of his golf resorts in Florida.
“This is so bizarre, this laundry list of issues,” said Marc Owens, the longtime head of the Internal Revenue Service office that oversees nonprofit organizations who is now in private practice. “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.”
The laws governing the diversion of income into a foundation were written, in part, to stop charity leaders from funneling income that should be taxed into a charity and then using that money to benefit themselves. Such violations can bring monetary penalties, the loss of tax-exempt status, and even criminal charges in extreme cases.
Now you know why Donald Trump is not going to release his tax returns.
Notorious gangster Al Capone, basically the godfather of organized crime in the 1920’s, ended up in jail not on charges of racketeering, murder, and other crimes, but for tax evasion.