Donald Trump, a stack of 64 slices of American cheese that has been left out on the counter too long, has some more questions to answer about his charitable efforts. This one involves using money donated to his own nonprofit to win a charity auction for some signed Tim Tebow gear.
The Washington Post, which has doggedly been separating Trump’s lies about his charitable giving from the much less generous truth, discovered the payment for the helmet and jersey this week. It went down in Palm Beach in 2012, at an auction to benefit the (largely useless) Susan G. Komen breast cancer foundation, and Trump was the winning bidder on the helmet, coughing up $12,000.
But where did that $12,000 come from?
Trump himself sent no money (In fact, a Komen spokesperson said, Trump has never given a personal gift of cash to the Komen organization). He paid the bill with money from a charity he founded in 1987, but which is largely stocked with other people’s money. Trump is the foundation’s president. But, at the time of the auction, Trump had given none of his own money to the foundation for three years running.
The Trump Foundation does not appear to have offices of its own: it is headquartered at Trump’s business offices in New York, and has no full-time staff.
If Trump kept the memorabilia, or even gave it to a friend, it’s a pretty classic violation of IRS rules against “self-dealing,” which prevents nonprofit officials from spending donated money on themselves. The only way he’d be in the clear is if he turned around and gave the helmet and jersey to another charity—but there’s no record of him doing so.
Trump’s campaign did not respond to the Washington Post’s request for comment.