Donald Trump likes to brag about the fact he is a very charitable person who has given more than $102 million to charity in the past five years. In fact at the beginning of his campaign he provided the Associated Press with a 93-page long list of his 4,844 contributions. A Washington Post analysis of those donations has found that Trump’s list of donations don’t involve any cash from the Trump piggy-bank . In fact the bulk of them were actually free rounds of golf, given away by Trump’s courses for local charity auctions and raffles.
Via it’s research the Washington Post estimated that Trump charity included at least 2,900 free rounds of golf, 175 free hotel stays, 165 free meals and 11 gift certificates to spas.
The largest items on the list were not cash gifts but land- conservation agreements to forgo development rights on property Trump owns.
Trump’s campaign also counted a parcel of land that he’d given to New York state — although that was in 2006, not within the past five years.
In addition, many of the gifts on the list came from the charity that bears his name, the Donald J. Trump Foundation, which didn’t receive a personal check from Trump from 2009 through 2014, according to the most recent public tax filings. Its work is largely funded by others, although Trump decides where the gifts go.
Based on the the records it is probably more appropriate to call the Donald J. Trump Foundation, the Vince and Linda McMahon Foundation, as they contributed two and a half times the cash to the charity as Trump ($5 million to $2 million)
The largest “donations” dealt with real estate.
For one, Trump counted $63.8 million of unspecified “conservation easements.” That refers to legal arrangements — which could bring tax breaks — in which a landowner agrees to forgo certain kinds of development on land that he owns. In California, for example, Trump agreed to an easement that prevented him from building homes on a plot of land near a golf course. But Trump kept the land, and kept making money off it. It is a driving range.
Not included is the fundraiser for veterans, Trump ran because he was afraid to face Megyn Kelly in the Iowa debate. Trump said he brought in more than $6 million during the fundraiser.
But the Trump campaign has detailed only about $3 million worth of donations that have been given to veterans groups. Some were given directly by donors recruited by Trump, and in some cases, the Trump Foundation served as a middleman. But where’s the other $3 million? Is the billionaire looking for ways to count that money as personal donations also?
Throughout his campaign Donald Trump has benefited from his reputation of philanthropy, but based on the Washington Post analysis, that reputation like so much coming from the billionaire bloviator of birtherism, is nothing but a paper tiger.