BUSINESS

Trump Pays Penalty For Ethically Questionable Political Donation

The donation came as Florida's attorney general was considering joining a lawsuit against Trump's for-profit school.
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi speaks before the arrival of Donald Trump at a campaign event in Daytona, Florida, Aug. 3,
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi speaks before the arrival of Donald Trump at a campaign event in Daytona, Florida, Aug. 3, 2016.

Donald Trump paid a $2,500 IRS fine this year for making a $25,000 gift from his charity to support the re-election of Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi three years ago, David Fahrenthold of The Washington Post reports.

In September 2013, three days before Trump made his donation to a political action committee supporting Bondi, the Orlando Sentinel reported that her office was considering joining the state of New York in a lawsuit against Trump University, which sold real estate seminars and was not, as the name suggested, an accredited academic institution. Ultimately, Bondi did not join New York’s case.

As a nonprofit, Trump’s charity cannot make political gifts. The Post reported earlier this year that the Trump Foundation listed the gift as going to a Kansas group with a similar name in IRS filings. That, Fahrenthold points out, meant that “the prohibited gift was, in effect, replaced with an innocent-sounding but nonexistent donation.”

Trump also donated $35,000 to support former Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s campaign for governor in 2013. As attorney general, Abbott decided in 2010 not to pursue a false advertising case against Trump U.

Jeffrey McConney, senior vice president at the Trump Organization, told the Post this week that the inaccurate record of a donation to the Kansas group “was just an honest mistake... It wasn’t done intentionally to hide a political donation, it was just an error.”

Trump said he donated to support Bondi’s re-election because she “is a fabulous representative of the people — Florida is lucky to have her.” Bondi has endorsed Trump for president and spoke at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this summer.

Internal company documents show that Trump University employees were instructed to emotionally manipulate people into buying classes. According to court testimony, Trump U. employees pressured customers to max out their credit cards. Trump’s lawyers and campaign have denied the allegations.

McConney did not immediately respond to a request for comment for this story.

Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.

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