Two Tweets About The Trump Foundation Confirm Trump Believes He’s Above The Law

Trump Foundation above the law

As Americans enjoyed the last few hours of our well-deserved Christmas holiday, the President Elect had another of his typical twitter tantrums. First he took the bait that he’d lose to an election with Obama, then he levied a truly pathetic insult to the U.N. over its Security-Council resolution against Israel, and he proclaimed himself the new savior of the universe. Seriously. But then he let slip two tweets about the Trump Foundation that show he genuinely believes he is above the law.

The Trump Foundation has broken the law, period.

The Washington Post reported in late November that the Trump Foundation admitted to violating a ban on “self dealing.” According to the IRS, federal law (26 USC 4941) defines “self dealing” in a charitable foundation as the owner, manager, or substantial contributor, or their family members (all known collectively as “disqualified persons”) from using the charity for

  1. the sale, exchange, or leasing of property,
  2. the lending of money or other extension of credit;
  3. the furnishing of goods, services, or facilities;
  4. the payment of compensation or expenses by the foundation to a disqualified person;
  5. the transfer or use of the foundation’s income or assets by or for the benefit of a disqualified person; and
  6. payments to government officials.

In its 2015 tax filings, the Trump Foundation checked “yes” that it had transferred income or assets to a disqualified person, and that it had done so in previous years.  Below are copies of the Trump Foundation’s relevant filings from 2014 and 2015, courtesy of The Washington Post.

Throughout the campaign, the Post reported on several examples of prohibited dealings, including the Trump Foundation buying items for Trump, or helping his many for-profit businesses.  Most of us have heard already about the $20,000 portrait of Trump in 2007, a $10,000 painting of him in 2014, and a $12,000 signed football helmet from Tim Tebow.

Perhaps less well-known is when the Trump Foundation paid a $100,000 donation that was supposed to come from Trump himself as a settlement with the town of Palm Beach. Or when the Trump Foundation donated $158,000 to settle a suit brought against Trump because he refused to pay the golfer who won the $1 million hole-in-one prize at his Westchester golf course.  Then there’s the time the Trump Foundation “donated” $25,000 to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi at exactly the same time she decided to drop suit against Trump University.

At a minimum, those are violations of three different statutes. So what does Trump have to say to all the press coverage?

The two tweets about the Trump Foundation

First of all, it is abundantly clear that Trump Foundation money has NOT all gone to charity. As for those charities all being wonderful, some of that cash has gone to Project Veritas, the good folks who use hidden cameras and obscene editing for propaganda and slander. We’ve been reporting for months that Trump is the biggest liar in American politics, so all of this is nothing new.

But the truly damning part comes from why he tweeted these in the first place. Who cares how much money he donated? Who cares how low the overhead is? Who cares whether he also gave money to charities? The Trump Foundation broke the law. And whether he doesn’t understand that, or doesn’t care, we’ve got the President-Elect of the United States of America thinking he’s above it.

“The press should be ashamed of themselves…you make me look very bad.”

Hopefully you haven’t forgotten that outburst when the press caught him failing to live up to his promise to donate $6 million to veteran’s charities. Back then it was just a question of living up to his word. But now, it is a question of legality. And he’s sitting here essentially asking us “Why are you focusing on how I broke the law, when I’ve done all this good stuff too?”

Two reasons. The first is the rampant and intolerable hypocrisy of this. Not a day went by that he didn’t relentlessly beat the drum over claims that Hillary Clinton broke the law. Ugh. There were her 30,000 deleted emails. That she allegedly used her influence as Secretary of State to raise money for the Clinton Foundation. Or the conspiracy theory that she was running a child sex ring. It just never stopped. And here was Trump and his Foundation, violating federal law left and right, the whole time! Aaaargh!

The second is that Trump is treating this like a kid who kills his parents and then expects the court to have mercy on him because he’s an orphan. Throughout the campaign, Trump made it very clear that for us normal people, a million good things won’t negate one illegal one. Anyone breaking the law must be punished, maybe even waterboarded, according to him. But for Trump? Well, the law obviously doesn’t apply.

We can rationalize it as affluenza, or narcissistic immunity, or any other excuse under the sun, but that doesn’t change the cold, hard fact. Trump considers himself and his interests to be untouchable. And in a few weeks, he will be President.

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