Our Opinion: Trump charity most definitely benefits Trump


Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump each have foundations but they don't have a lot in common. Most significantly, the Trump charity is charitable to Donald Trump.

The Clinton Foundation has been in the news because the firewall between those who sought funding and the former secretary of state was inadequate. In the instances in which it was breached, however, it was largely done so by people and groups hoping to do good work. And the Clinton Foundation has a long history of doing good work in the U.S. and abroad by addressing climate change, fighting childhood obesity and providing economic opportunities and health care options for those in poverty, among many other accomplishments.

Records of what Mr. Trump has or hasn't done in terms of charity are to an extent locked in the tax returns that the Republican standard-bearer is evidently afraid to release to the press and public. Washington Post reporter David A. Fahrenthold, however, dug through the public tax records of the Trump Foundation and found apparent instances of "self-dealing," in which donations meant for charitable purposes are instead used to benefit the person or group running the charity.

Last week, Mr. Fahrenthold cited four specific instances, beginning with a fine assessed Mr. Trump's Mar-a-Lago Club by the city of Palm Beach, Florida because of the height of a flagpole. The club agreed to donate $100,000 to charity for veterans but the check was drawn instead from the Trump Foundation. To settle a prize money dispute with a golfer, a Trump golf course agreed to make a $158,000 donation to the golfer's chosen charity. That money also came from the Trump Foundation. Mr. Trump also used $5,000 from his foundation to buy ads touting his hotel and another $10,000 in foundation funds was used by Mr. Trump to buy a portrait of himself.

"I've never encountered anything so brazen," said Washington attorney Jeffrey Tenenbaum, who advises charities, to the Post. The Trump campaign claimed in a press release that the story contained inaccuracies and omissions but declined the Post's request to cite specifics.

The Clinton Foundation, an open book compared to Mr. Trump's, has not engaged in this kind of self-dealing. Media assertions that the Clinton charity is in any way as disreputable as Mr. Trump's is an example of the false equivalencies that have unfairly tilted campaign coverage in favor of the Republican nominee.


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