Trump paid fine for donation to Bondi PAC amid Trump U. complaints

Republican Party presidential nominee Donald Trump paid a $2,500 fine to the IRS after a charitable foundation tied to him made an illegal contribution to a political action committee backing Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, The Washington Post has reported.

The $25,000 donation from the Trump Foundation came as Bondi’s office was looking into complaints about Trump University, which is now the subject of lawsuits in California and New York.

Bondi’s office decided against pursuing complaints against Trump U.

Opponents of the celebrity real estate mogul have held up Trump U. as an example of Trump’s willingness to dupe others to enrich himself.

In March, a disabled Boynton Beach man told The Palm Beach Post he lost $26,000 when he took a Trump U. course in 2007 or 2008.

Charles Jacobson told The Palm Beach Post “something should have been said or written long ago, when the election started.”

Trump U. is the subject of lawsuits in California and New York. Many of those who took the courses say it was a scam that promised real estate riches – after they paid thousands more for specialized instruction.

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

In an email to The Palm Beach Post, Whitney Ray, Bondi’s director of media relations, said the Trump charity’s donation to the pro-Bondi PAC had no bearing on her office’s decision not to pursue an independent investigation into Trump U.

The fine and the donation bring Trump U. and allegations of Trump’s mendacity back into the presidential campaign spotlight. It also offers up a ready-made counter to Trump’s claims that the Clinton Foundation solicited donations in exchange for access to or favors from Democratic Party presidential nominee Hillary Clinton when she was secretary of state.

“Donald Trump has been falsely attacking the charity run by President Clinton when it is Trump’s own Foundation that has been caught in an actual pay-to-play scandal,” Hillary Clinton’s campaign said in a statement on Friday, when news of the Trump fine broke. “While the Clinton Foundation has received the highest ratings from independent charitable watchdogs, Donald Trump’s use of foundation money to donate to the Florida Attorney General actually broke the law. Worst of all, it appears the payment may have been intended to stave off an investigation into the sham Trump University that has ripped off unsuspecting students.”

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a government watchdog agency, is now calling for an investigation into whether the Trump Foundation violated its tax-exempt status in donating to the pro-Bondi PAC.

CREW’s complaint makes clear it believes the donation was made to influence Bondi’s decision on the Trump U. complaints.

At various points during the campaign, Trump has been blunt in criticizing the U.S. political system as one where politicians do the bidding of rich and well-connected donors. He has said he was one such donor.

“As a businessman and a very substantial donor to very important people, when you give, they do whatever the hell you want them to do,” Trump told The Wall Street Journal in July of 2015. “As a businessman, I need that.”

The next month, during a GOP debate, he said the system was “broken.”

“I gave to many people before this,” he said. “Before two months ago, I was a businessman. I give to everybody. When they call, I give. And you know what? When I need something from them two years later, three years later, I call them. They are there for me. That’s a broken system.”

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi

 

 

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