Trump Foundation admits violating 'self-dealing' ban in new IRS filing

By Allen Cone
President-elect Donald Trump meets with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in Bedminster, N.J., on Sunday Pool Photo by Peter Foley/UPI
President-elect Donald Trump meets with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in Bedminster, N.J., on Sunday Pool Photo by Peter Foley/UPI | License Photo

NEW YORK, Nov. 22 (UPI) -- President-elect Donald Trump's charitable foundation has admitted in an IRS filing that it violated a prohibition against "self-dealing'' -- the barring of organization leaders or family members from using money for their own benefit.

The Donald J. Trump Foundation reported online Monday night that it transferred income or assets to someone banned in 2015 and previous years.


The details were not revealed.

The Washington Post earlier reported that Trump used foundation funds to settle legal disputes for his companies. In 2007, he bought a 6-foot-tall portrait of himself for $20,000 at an auction and in 2014 bid $10,000 to buy a 4-foot painting of himself at another charity gala.

Subsequently, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has said he is investigating the foundation "to make sure it's complying with the laws governing charities in New York."

The foundation earlier paid an IRS penalty for contributing to the political campaign of Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, who opted not to pursue an investigation into Trump University.

Last week Trump agreed to pay $25 million to settle former students' suit that Trump University defrauded them.


The forms were uploaded by the Trump Foundation's law firm, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, to the nonprofit-tracking site GuideStar.

It appears to be the first time the Trump Foundation has admitted committing a violation since its inception in 1987.

"What transactions led to the self-dealing that they're admitting to? Why weren't they able to recognize them in prior years," Philip Hackney, who formerly worked in the IRS chief counsel's office and now teaches at Louisiana State University, told the Post.

The tax form lists $783,370 in money received and total expenses of $943,321, including $893,380 in gifts, contributions and grants. In 2015, it listed the fair market value of all assets at $1,116,241.

The foundation lists a donation of $566,370 from the Trump Corp., which is 100 percent owned by Trump himself. It also lists a $50,000 gift from Trump Productions, a Trump-owned business that produced The Apprentice.

Previously, the last donation from Trump or one of his businesses to the foundation was in 2008.

A $150,000 gift from the foundation of Viktor Pinchuk, a Ukrainian steel magnate, was also reported.

A spokesman for Pinchuk's foundation told the Post the gift was part of an agreement for Trump to speak via video link to a conference that Pinchuk organized in September 2015.


The Wall Street Journal reported Pinchuk's foundation also gave at least $8.6 million to Bill and Hillary Clinton's foundation.

Trump's foundation made two $10,000 grants to Project Veritas, James O'Keefe's group that released undercover videos purporting to show Democratic voter fraud efforts in October.

Also, $5,000 went to the Media Research Center, Brent Bozell's watchdog group, whose website called the national news media "the propaganda arm of the left."

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