Donald Trump used more than a quarter of a million dollars from his charity to settle lawsuits against his businesses, a major investigation by the Washington Post has discovered. Post journalist David Fahrenthold has been investigating the Trump Foundation and Trump’s charitable giving since Trump claimed he gave millions to charities.
Trump used his foundation’s money to settle four separate lawsuits amounting to $258,000, including a case involving his flagship golf club in Florida, Mar-a-Lago. In 2007, Palm Beach dropped fines against Mar-a-Lago in exchange for a charitable donation from the club. The $100,000 donation was paid by the Trump Foundation, not the club itself.
The Trump Foundation’s money comes primarily from other people. Trump hasn’t made a contribution to his own charity since 2008 but he has continued to spend the foundation’s money. Trump bought two large portraits of himself using his charity’s money, while another lawsuit in New York was settled with a payment from the foundation.
Fahrenthold’s investigation has found that Trump spends his charity’s money to benefit himself and his businesses. Using charitable donations in this way be be illegal. Even if spending his foundation’s money on his own business and legal expenses is not illegal, it is very far from actual charity.