Trump Foundation Appears To Admit To Self-Dealing On IRS Form

Evan Vucci

The Donald J. Trump Foundation acknowledged that it had violated the so-called "self-dealing" ban in charity law -- referring to the use of a charity's money for an principle's own personal benefit -- on an IRS form that has been posted publicly, the Washington Post reported Tuesday.

On the IRS Form 990 for the 2015 tax year, the foundation marked "yes" on a question regarding whether a disqualified person -- meaning someone with a position of influence within the charity -- had benefited from the foundation's income or assets. The form 990 is the tax return that tax-exempt organizations file. It was posted to the charity watchdog website GuideStar Monday evening. It is unclear whether the form had been submitted to the IRS, the Washington Post said.

The possibility that the foundation had been engaged in self-dealing was first raised by multiples reports in the Washington Post that uncovered instances where Trump used the non-profits' funds to settle lawsuits against his business, pay for sponsorships that he used to advertise his businesses and even to buy portraits of himself. The New York Attorney's General office has opened an investigation into the Trump Foundation examining that and other claims of possible legal violations.

Under charity law, these kinds of violations should be admitted on tax forms so any potential taxes that need for to be paid for the transactions can be recouped. The Trump Foundation's forms -- up until the 2015 form posted Monday -- made no such acknowledgement. The 2015 form admits the a disqualified person benefited from the foundation's income or assets both this year and in previous years.

The Trump Foundation was also found to be raising outside money without the proper registration to do so under New York state law, a revelation that also emerged with the Washington Post's reporting.

Additionally, Trump's lawyers informed the New York Attorney's General Office Monday that it would not use the foundation Monday to pay for the $25 million settlement it had reached with the Attorney General in a seperate case concerning Trump University. That assurance came in a letter from Trump Organization general counsel Alan Garten, according to a Washington Post report Monday evening.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tierney Sneed is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked for U.S. News and World Report. She grew up in Florida and attended Georgetown University.
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