President-elect Donald Trump's charitable foundation has acknowledged that it violated a ban against "self-dealing," which prohibits the leaders of nonprofits from using the charity's money to help themselves, their families, or their businesses, according to The Washington Post.
Nonprofit-tracking website GuideStar posted the Donald J. Trump Foundation's 2015 tax filing to the IRS. According to the site's spokesman, the forms were uploaded by the foundation's law firm.
GuideStar spokesperson Jackie Enterline Fekeci told USA Today that the filing "was uploaded by a representative from Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP directly onto the foundation's GuideStar Nonprofit Profile on November 18. We allow organizations to submit their 990's voluntarily because sometimes the form's route through the IRS causes a delay before we get the officially filed version. We do that in the good faith that the version they upload onto GuideStar is identical to the version they submit to the IRS."
On the form, the IRS asked if the foundation transferred "income or assets to a disqualified person," which could be Trump himself, a member of the Trump family, or a Trump-owned business. The Trump Foundation checked "yes." It also answered "yes" to a question about if self-dealing had been committed in prior years.
However, the forms do not contain any specific instances of self-dealing, or if Trump has paid penalties for the transactions already.
Spokesmen for Trump's presidential campaign and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, whose office is investigating the Trump Foundation, declined to comment on the forms, though Schneiderman's spokesman did say "our investigation is ongoing."
"What transactions led to the self-dealing that they're admitting to? Why weren't they able to recognize them in prior years," Philip Hackney, formerly of the IRS' chief counsel's office, said to the Post, asking why the charity was only now admitting to self-dealing in the past, and why the IRS has not acted on it.
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