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Monday, September 12, 2016

David Fahrenthold has #Lyin'Donald's number(s) (in spades).

There were five phantom donations in the files of Donald Trump’s foundation. Here’s what we know.
By David A. Fahrenthold, September 12, 2016

Donald Trump's charity is not like other charities.

For one thing — as The Washington Post explained Sundaythe money in the Donald J. Trump Foundation does not come from Trump himself. Tax records show that Trump hasn't donated any money to his foundation since 2008. Instead, he has retooled his personal charity so that it gives away other people's money — although Trump has kept his name on the foundation, and atop its checks.

For another, the Trump Foundation seems to have repeatedly defied the Internal Revenue Service rules that govern nonprofits. It gave a prohibited political gift to help Florida Attorney General Pamela Bondi (R). It appears to have bought items for Trump — including a $12,000 football helmet and a $20,000 portrait of Trump — despite IRS rules against "self-dealing" by charity leaders.

And, in at least five cases, the Trump Foundation may have reported making a donation that didn't seem to exist.

These five cases turned up in The Post's reporting, which looked at 24 years of tax filings and reached out to more than 200 people and groups listed in those filings as donors or recipients of gifts.

Five times, the Trump Foundation's tax filings described giving a specific amount of money to a specific charity — in some cases, even including the recipient's address. But when The Post called, the charities listed said the tax filings appeared wrong. They'd never received anything from Trump or his foundation.

The Post asked Trump's staff to explain these five apparent errors.

It has explained one.

Regarding that one (No. 5 on the list below), the Trump organization's explanation showed something very unusual. The incorrect gift had been listed on the Trump Foundation's tax filings in a way that served to hide a real gift — the improper donation to Bondi's group — from the IRS. Trump's staffers say there was no intent to mislead: The improper gift was left off, and the false gift was added, by accident.

It's still unclear how the four other apparent errors arose.

We post them here, in case somebody out there knows more of the story than we do.

INCORRECT LISTING 1): A $10,000 gift to the Giving Back Fund in 2008.

 An excerpt of the Donald J. Trump Foundation's IRS filings for 2008.

The Giving Back Fund is a Los Angeles-based charity that serves as an umbrella group for smaller charities run by actors and celebrities. Marc Pollick, the group's president and founder, said the group had searched its donor files and found no evidence of this gift. "We have already reached out to the Trump Foundation to ask them to actually SEND us the $10,000 that they claimed they sent in 2008!" he wrote in an email.

Trump's campaign did not respond to a request for an explanation of this gift.

The Trump Foundation's accountants — the firm WeiserMazars — declined to comment about this gift, and all the others, citing company policy.

2.) A $5,000 gift to the Children's Medical Center in Omaha in 2010.

 An excerpt from the Donald J. Trump Foundation's IRS filings for 2010.

"Children’s Hospital & Medical Center’s Foundation does not have a gift from the Donald J. Trump Foundation or Donald Trump in its records," said Sarah Weller, a spokeswoman for the medical center.

Weller suggested that the Trump Foundation may have sent the money to another children's hospital, in another city. But the foundation's tax returns had the right address for the one in Omaha, down to the suite number.

Trump's campaign did not respond to a request for an explanation of this gift.

3.) A $10,000 gift to the Latino Commission on AIDS in 2012.

 An excerpt from the Donald J. Trump Foundation's tax filings for 2012.

This was one of the gifts that Trump promised on air during a taping of "The Celebrity Apprentice." During an episode in 2012, contestant Dayana Mendoza — a former Miss Universe — was there when Trump made a sweeping promise. "I'm gonna give $10,000 each to each one of you, everybody sitting at this table, for your charity," he said.

Five other contestants were at the table. The Trump Foundation sent $10,000 to each of their charities. This was typical for the show: Although Trump often made seemingly heartfelt promises to donate his own money, it seems that he never did so. Instead, the donations were made by a production company, or by Trump's foundation — by then, filled with other people's money.

The Trump Foundation told the IRS that it also had given $10,000 to Mendoza's charity, the Latino Commission on AIDS.

But the money didn't arrive. "No ... donations of any kind from Donald Trump or the Donald J. Trump Foundation were received," said Daniel Leyva, at the commission.

Trump's campaign did not respond to a request for an explanation of this gift.

4.) A $1,000 gift to Friends of Veterans in 2013.

 An excerpt from the Donald J. Trump Foundation's tax filings in 2013.

We told the tale of this gift in our article Sunday:
This January, the phone rang at a tiny charity in White River Junction, Vt., called Friends of Veterans. This was just after Trump had held a televised fundraiser for veterans in Iowa, raising more than $5 million.

The man on the phone was a Trump staffer who was selecting charities that would receive the newly raised money. He said the Vermont group was already on Trump’s list, because the Trump Foundation had given it $1,000 in 2013.

“I don’t remember a donation from the Trump Foundation,” said Larry Daigle, the group’s president, who was a helicopter gunner with the Army during the Vietnam War. “The guy seemed pretty surprised about this.”

The man went away from the phone. He came back.

Was Daigle sure? He was.

The man thanked him. He hung up. Daigle waited — hopes raised — for the Trump people to call back.

“Oh, my God, do you know how many homeless veterans I could help?” Daigle told The Post this spring, while he was waiting.

Trump gave away the rest of the veterans money in late May.

Daigle’s group received none of it.
Trump's campaign did not respond to a request for an explanation of this gift.

5.) A $25,000 gift to Justice for All in 2013

An excerpt from the Donald J. Trump Foundation's tax filings to 2013, showing a nonexistent gift.

Justice for All is a nonprofit group in Kansas that seeks to "make abortion unthinkable" by training opponents of abortion to change minds about the issue.

"Our organization, Justice for All Inc., did not receive a $25,000 donation from the Donald J. Trump Foundation in 2013," staffer Tammy Cook told The Post earlier this year.

This is the one incorrect listing that Trump's organization has explained.

We laid it out in our Sunday story:
First, Trump officials said, when the request came down to cut a check to the Bondi group, a Trump Organization clerk followed internal protocol and consulted a book with the names of known charities.

The name of the pro-Bondi group is And Justice for All. Trump’s staffer saw that name in the book, and — mistakenly — cut the check from the Trump Foundation. The group in the book was an entirely different charity in Utah, unrelated to Bondi’s group in Florida.

Somehow, the money got to Florida anyway.

Then, Trump’s staffers said, the foundation’s accounting firm made another mistake: It told the IRS that the $25,000 had gone to a third charity, based in Kansas, called Justice for All. In reality, the Kansas group got no money.

“That was just a complete mess-up on names. Anything that could go wrong did go wrong,” Jeffrey McConney, the Trump Organization’s controller, told The Post last week. After The Post pointed out these errors in the spring, Trump paid a $2,500 penalty tax.

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