Scant Evidence Exists of 'Millions' Trump Claims He's Donated to Charity (Video)
Following the not-so-shocking revelation last month that Donald Trump failed to give a promised $1 million to a veterans group (until he was shamed into cutting a check by this Washington Post exposÃ©) the presumptive Republican nominee is once again facing scrutiny over inflated claims of charitable donations.
Wednesday, Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold, the journalist who originally exposed Trump’s failure to fulfill his lofty promise to donate $1 million of his own money to a veterans’ charity (prompting the presumed Republican nominee to announce—the same day—he would write a check for $1.1 million to the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation), followed his compelling investigation with an equally compelling look at the presumptive Republican nominee’s general lack of charity donations.
"I made a list of all the charities I could think of that had some kind of connection to Trump,” Fahrenthold told MSNBC’s Chris Hayes. “Charities that he’s given to from his foundation in the past—the foundation largely filled with other people’s money now—charities he’s written about, that he mentions in his corporate biography. Sort of, if Donald Trump was going to give any of his personal money to any charity, who would it be?”
Fahrenthold said he asked the charities if they ever received a personal donation from Trump, finding only one instance between 2008 (when Trump last donated to the Trump Foundation) and in May of this year, when he donated the $1.1 million to MC-LEF. The single instance was a donation for $5,000-$10,000 to Police Athletic League of NYC, which Fahrenthold notes may be a “bookkeeping error.”
“This individual claims he is worth $10 billion,” Chris Hayes said, laying out the facts at play while Fahrenthold affirmed the summary. “He claims that he’s given millions of dollars, if I'm not mistaken, to charity. He has a foundation that he’s given no personal money to."
"You’ve now called 128 organizations and charities," Hayes continued. "And there’s only one donation from this man who’s worth $10 billion (so he says) that you can account for, in the amount of $5,000, a few years ago, that might have been a bookkeeping error?”
That’s exactly right.
Fahrenthold isn’t the only journalist attempting to verify Trump’s claim that he’s donated “millions” to charity. The businessman often says the money from various projects will be donated to certain groups, but scant evidence exists to back up his assertion. Buzzfeed documented one such example:
“More recently, Trump kept promising to make charitable donations from his licensed products, notably from the infamous Trump Vodka. ‘I thought about it, and what I’ve decided to do is donate any and all money that I make from alcoholic beverages to Mothers Against Drunk Drivers,’ he wrote on his ‘Trumped' radio show blog. ‘I’m going to give 100% of that money to them in honor of my late brother, Fred Trump."
Trump attempted to donate some money to MADD, but the organization has a policy refusing donations from alcohol sales. Instead, Trump Vodka’s proceeds were donated to the Walter Reed Society, which as Buzzfeed notes, “said they received only a few hundred dollars.”
Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks told Buzzfeed its information is “totally incorrect.”
“He makes contributions personally and there’s no way for you to know or understand what those gifts are or when they are made,” she said in a statement. “We appreciate your interest in his charitable giving, which is generous and frequent.”
But journalists like Fahrenthold are tackling the impossible task of trying to locate records to support Trump’s supposed “generous and frequent” donations. The Washington Post reporter even solicited his Twitter followers to send him tips of any charities that may have received donations.
If you received a personal donation from @realdonaldtrump, or have a tip about someone who did, DM me or email@example.com— David Fahrenthold (@David Fahrenthold)1466692333.0
.@realdonaldtrump staff says Trump fulfills them w/ personal gifts, outside fdn. I'm trying to prove them right. https://t.co/3ewkLVJpzo— David Fahrenthold (@David Fahrenthold)1466708798.0
There is one way for Trump to put accusations about his less-than-charitable donations to bed: release his tax returns, which would contain an itemized list of any contributions he’s made to charities. But Trump refuses to release his tax returns, insisting his hands are tied until the federal audit of his returns is completed. But considering there’s no real rule preventing the self-professed billionaire from sharing his returns under audit, we’re willing to bet the actual reason is far more self-serving.
Watch the video below, via MSNBC.