Trump makes charity donations with other people’s money
This fits a pattern of Trump bragging about how giving he is when he’s giving very little.
At a glittering 2008 gala hosted by Gucci to benefit Madonna’s charity, Donald Trump bid more than $100,000 for a trip to Paris, earning him press from New York to London. But most of the money he used wasn’t his. It came from his foundation, to which he had donated just $30,000 that year.
The bid fits a pattern: Trump takes credit for splashy charitable acts to which he in fact gives relatively small sums. Over the years, Trump has made grandiose claims of giving millions in charitable donations while giving little to his own foundation. For example, in 2001, he claimed his Comedy Central roast raised $1 million for charity. But Trump’s foundation records show just one donation from Comedy Central for $400,000.
With Trump’s winning bid on the vacation, most of the money almost certainly did not come from Trump himself. Tax records from his foundation show that in the preceding years, the foundation had spent virtually all of its money each year. Then, in 2008 — the year Trump won the vacation — he donated $30,000 to his foundation. (The year before, Trump also donated just $30,000.) The largest donor in 2008 was the Willard T.C. Johnson Foundation, which gave $250,000 to the Trump Foundation.
Trump’s winning auction bid raises another question: What became of the vacation? The trip reportedly included a tour of the famed Chataeu Latour vineyard and a mealwith actor Salma Hayek and her husband, the French billionaire François-Henri Pinault, whose family owns the vineyard.
Trump himself didn’t go on the trip, an aide told BuzzFeed News, but said that she did not know what became of the auction prize. Asked if it had been given to someone else, she reiterated that she didn’t know.
Tax experts contacted by BuzzFeed News said that even if Trump gave the trip to a family member or friend, Trump would have had to report the trip on his foundation’s IRS tax forms. Those forms, however do not report any such transactions.