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Trump Foundation

Trump campaign hits back at Washington Post over Trump Foundation 'self-dealing' report

On Tuesday, The Washington Post reported that the Trump Foundation gave out $258,000 to settle two legal disputes against Donald Trump's for-profit businesses, as well as two other instances that also appear to be prohibited "self-dealing" by a foundation. In one case, Trump agreed to pay $100,000 to charity to resolve fines from Palm Beach, Florida, over a flag pole at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort, and in the other, a Trump golf course in New York was sued over a hole-in-one contest, and settled the case for $158,000; in both cases, the check came from the Trump Foundation. Several lawyers with expertise in tax and nonprofit law told the Post and The New York Times these appear to be egregious and clear-cut cases of "self-dealing," or using charity money to benefit the leaders of that charity or their businesses.

On Tuesday night, Trump's presidential campaign issued a statement from spokesman Jason Miller attacking Post reporter David A. Fahrenthold, saying "the Post's reporting is peppered with inaccuracies and omissions from a biased reporter who is clearly intent on distracting attention away from the corrupt Clinton Foundation." Although Miller said the Post has "their facts wrong," the statement did not dispute any facts, nor did it explain how "there was not, and could not be, any intent or motive for the Trump Foundation to make improper payments." Also, as Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler noted, it did not actually deny the allegations.

On CNN Tuesday night, Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway provided a little more information. When host Erin Burnett asked if Conway was "at all concerned that Trump may have broken the law," she responded, "No, and I would point out that in the second paragraph of that story that you mention, Erin, it says 'may have' and later on in the story it says 'the IRS may want to look into it,' but of course they haven't." Conway added later, "I've been talking to the people who are responsible for the Trump Foundation today, trying to get some facts and some figures," and that monies "were misdirected to his foundation; I'm told by his accountants and attorneys, they went to the right foundation after that."

"How in the world did his business benefit from that?" Conway asked Burnett. "How did Mar-a-Lago benefit from him giving $100,000 to veterans?" Burnett answered, "Well, the business of course benefited by the lawsuit going away and being settled, right?" Conway got in the last word: "Well, there are many lawsuits every day against people. That's a bridge too far, I think you're making things up based on facts as they are not reported in this story, which also uses a lot of conditional phrasing, I would like to point out." You can get a more detailed answer from Fahrenthold in the Washington Post video below. Peter Weber