President Trump has agreed to shut down The Trump Foundation, his personal charity entity, amidst allegations that the organization funneled charitable money for his own personal gain. The largest donors to that organization were Vince and Linda McMahon. The Washington Post details:
The attorney general’s suit alleges that Trump used his charity’s money as his own piggy bank — including to help his presidential campaign by paying for giveaways at Iowa rallies.
“The Foundation was little more than a checkbook for payments to not-for-profits from Mr. Trump or the Trump Organization,” Underwood wrote in the initial suit.
The Post’s reporting showed that, for years, Trump appeared to use the foundation — which was, by law, an independent entity — to make payments that bolstered his interests. …
At one point, Trump used the charity’s money to make a $25,000 political donation to Florida Attorney General Pamela Bondi (R). The charity didn’t tell the IRS about that, as required — and instead listed that donation as a gift to an unrelated charity in Kansas with a similar name. Trump’s team blamed accounting mistakes.
On MSNBC this afternoon on “Deadline: White House” hosted by former President Bush Communciatons Director Nicolle Wallace, former FBI Assistant Director of Counterintellgence Frank Figliuzzi said regarding President Trump’s 17 ongoing investigations: “We are taking about a crime family. Let’s not forget, we aren’t counting the investigations on all of his associates and associates of associates. If we did that, we’d have a flow chart the size of your back wall. Speaking of spinoff investigations, do you know who the largest singles donors were to the Foundation? Vince and Linda McMahon? Do you know who Linda McMahon is? Linda McMahon was named by Trump as the head of the Small Business Administration. Are we going to have an SBA director who becomes a witness against the president. What was she told about where her money was going? How much does it cost to be named the SBA director. The people in his circle of being investigated. This is unprecedented in our history.”
Forbes published a story in April 2017 headlined: “A $5 Million Mystery: How The WWE Became The Trump Foundation’s Biggest Donor.” Excerpt:
According to the Form 990 filed by the Trump Foundation in 2007, the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) gave 114 times as much to the foundation as Trump did himself. In 2009, the forms show, the WWE gave $1 million more. But the company claims — though will not provide supporting evidence — that the money came from Vince McMahon (the billionaire founder of the WWE) and his family.
The Morning Call today published a story with some sordid details on the Trump Foundation’s non-charitable spending and reports the McMahons donated $5 million to the foundation. Excerpt:
Trump had given about $5.5 million to his foundation through 2015; his last gift was $35,000 in 2008. Outside donors, many of which did business with the president, have given the foundation about $9.3 million. The biggest donors to the foundation were Vince and Linda McMahon, co-founders of World Wrestling Entertainment, who kicked in $5 million. After becoming president, Trump appointed Linda McMahon to run the Small Business Administration.
Underwood’s lawsuit is a stark reminder of how flagrantly illicit the Trump Foundation has been. It alleges “a pattern of persistent illegal conduct, occurring over more than a decade, that includes extensive unlawful political coordination with the Trump presidential campaign, repeated and willful self-dealing transactions to benefit Mr. Trump’s personal and business interests, and violations of basic legal obligations for non-profit foundations.”
Underwood has referred her case to the Internal Revenue Service and the Federal Election Commission in case either of those agencies are interested in identifying whether the Trump Foundation violated any federal laws.
As Francis Wilkinson has written for Bloomberg Opinion, the Trump Foundation’s single largest gift — $264,631 — was allotted toward renovating a fountain outside the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan. Trump owned the hotel.
Listen to our recent podcast on the Vince McMahon-Donald Trump relationship over the decades with Lavie Margolin, author of “TrumpMania.”
McMahons donations to President Trump’s charity organization may have been used for Trump personal gain, not charitable causes:
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