The Washington Post reports: Donald Trump’s charitable foundation has received approximately $2.3 million from companies that owed money to Trump or one of his businesses but were instructed to pay Trump’s tax-exempt foundation instead, according to people familiar with the transactions.
In cases where he diverted his own income to his foundation, tax experts said, Trump would still likely be required to pay taxes on the income. Trump has refused to release his personal tax returns. His campaign said he paid income tax on one of the donations, but did not respond to questions about the others.
The laws governing the diversion of income into a foundation were written, in part, to stop charity leaders from funneling income that should be taxed into a charity and then using that money to benefit themselves. Such violations can bring monetary penalties, the loss of tax-exempt status, and even criminal charges in extreme cases.
[Boris] Epshteyn [a senior adviser to Trump], in the Saturday interview with The Post, said Trump did not knowingly violate any tax laws. “There’s been no intent, in any way, to go against any applicable rules, laws, and regulations,” Epshteyn said. “If you suggest it any way otherwise, publicly, it’s dangerous and irresponsible.”
In an interview over the weekend, Trump offered a defense of his charity.
“Are you confident that the Trump Foundation has followed all charitable rules and laws?” journalist Sharyl Attkisson asked on a Sunday TV program called Full Measure.
“Well, I hope so,” Trump said. “I mean, my lawyers do it.”
The Trump Foundation has no paid staff. The last time it reported spending any money on legal fees was in 2010, when it spent $53 total for the year. [Continue reading…]