Saturday, November 9, 2019

Trump's abuse of another office

The focus on President Trump's abuse of his presidential office for personal and political gain risks overlooking his admitted gargantuan abuse of his "charitable" foundation.

This week, a New York judged slammed Trump with $2 million in damages for his foundation's skeevy grifting. The judgment was part of a settlement agreement in which Trump stipulated that his foundation:

  • Provided improper political help to his presidential campaign and another political campaign;
  • Improperly paid more than a quarter million dollars in different legal settlements for Trump's businesses;
  • Paid $47,000 for advertising, artwork, and other expenses for Trump's businesses;
  • Had a sham Board of Directors--the Board did not meet from 1999 through November 2018, provided no oversight, and did not adopt a required conflict of interest policy.
By converting his foundation into his personal piggy bank, Trump corruptly turned taxable activities into tax-free activities, cheating the federal and New York state governments and passing his bill to other taxpayers.

As part of the settlement, Trump had already agreed to dissolve the Foundation, pay its remaining $1.7 million in holdings to genuine charitable causes, pay other penalties, and adhere to strict rules and monitoring if he ever serves on the board of another charity.

Trump is now prohibited from running a charity without a host of guardrails, yet somehow his Republican enablers see him as qualified to run the country.

For any other president, these penalties for mismanagement and self-dealing would be an all-consuming scandal. For Trump, it's just more of the same.