On Monday night, The Washington Post’s David Farenthold, the reporter who broke numerous stories about the Trump Foundation’s self-dealing, went on CNN to discuss Trump’s plan to dissolve the foundation.
Farenthold noted, “The basic rule to remember here is that if you run a charity, you can’t take the money out of the charity and use it to buy things for yourself. And Trump appears to have violated that rule, which is called ‘self-dealing,’ on a number of occasions.” Farenthold then cited the fact that Trump purchased a portrait of himself with foundation money and that foundation money had been used to settle lawsuits brought against his for-profit businesses.
Well, Trump seems to have been watching, because later that evening he tweeted this:
Trump is essentially arguing that not only did his foundation give millions to charity, but that—unlike other charities—it gave all of its money to charity and did not spend any on overhead or other operational expenses. (Charities like the Red Cross are frequently criticized for spending too much on overhead.) There’s a problem, however, with Trump’s defense of his supposedly charitable foundation: There is no evidence that it gave millions to charity and there is even less, given the reports of self-dealing, that it gave all of the money it raised for charity. Instead, there is a wealth of evidence that Trump has given almost nothing to charity over the last several years. Hilariously, the Trump Foundation admitted to engaging in self-dealing in a recent IRS filing, contradicting Trump’s claim that all of the money it raised went to charity.
But if Donald Trump really is bothered about the coverage of his charitable giving, there’s one thing he should do: Release his tax returns.