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Unclear whether it's the Clinton or Trump foundation? If the workers never got paid, it's Trump's.


You'd think Yr Wonkette would be all burned out on talk of foundations by now, and you'd think right -- we've recently gotten a crash course in the tax law governing charitable foundations, mostly in the form of how Donald Trump completely ignored it whenever he wanted to. But what about Crooked Hillary and the Crooked Clinton Foundation, which turned the whole State Department into a YOOGE pay-for-play scheme? Thank goodness, tax and economics reporter David Cay Johnston has put together a brief comparison of the Donald J. Trump Foundation and the Clinton Foundation, and you will be shocked to learn that they are pretty much the Goofus and Gallant of charities. You should go read the whole thing, because it's smart and well-written.

Johnston focuses on a couple fairly simple questions: How much do the Clintons and the Trumps give away with their respective charities, and what do those charities do with their money? And here's not much of a surprise: The Clintons give away a far greater percentage of their income than Donald Trump does, even if you believe Trump's probably fictitious claim that he's given away $102 million to charities over his lifetime and his equally dubious claim that he's worth $10 billion. As far as documented gifts to charity, including his own foundation, Goofus has "given $3.8 million to charities, the very limited public record on his giving shows. That includes a $1 million gift to a veterans’ charity as part of his campaign to win votes." (Wonket link, oddly, not in the original.) Trump hasn't given any money to his own foundation since 2008 -- and that was only $30,000; the charity now subsists on contributions from other people.

The Clintons, on the other hand, have given $23.2 million to charity since 2001, and that's all documented on their tax returns -- 39 consecutive years of which they've released. If Trump ever releases his tax returns (he won't), maybe we'd know how much he actually has given to charity. So Johnston does a little cipherin' and figures out that, based on their net worth of roughly $62 million, the Clintons have made charitable donations equal to "at least 37.6 percent of their maximum net worth." And Goofus? Depends on whether he's really worth $10 billion and which amount of giving you go with:

[His] verified gifts since 2001 come to less than four one-hundredths of 1 percent of his claimed wealth. Even if we accept his claim of $102 million—and count it as all being donated since 2001—his total giving would be just 1 percent of his claimed net worth [...]

This means that, relative to wealth, the Clintons have given at a rate a thousand times Trump’s verifiable charitable giving. Even accepting Trump’s claim that his giving is much larger than the public record shows, the Clintons gave at more than 37 times Trump’s rate.

And what do the two foundations do with their money? Goofus's foundation mostly helps out organizations that have some direct connection to Goofus himself:

The Trump Foundation shows mostly small gifts, from $1,000 to $25,000. The three largest grants it made in 2014, its latest tax filing shows, all had an element of self-interest.

The largest grant, $100,000, went to Citizens United Foundation, which promotes anonymous donations to influence elections.

The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of West Palm Beach was next at $50,000. It pays Trump to host fundraisers at the Trump-owned National Doral Miami, a luxury hotel, and charity golf tournaments on the Doral’s links.

The Trump foundation also gave $50,000 to Columbia Grammar and Prep School in Manhattan, a private school whose students include Barron, the candidate’s youngest child.

Those three grants come to more than a third of the Trump Foundation’s 2014 grants, which totaled $591,450, a piddling sum for the self-described 10 billion-dollar man.

And that's not even getting into the illegal campaign contribution to Pam Bondi, or the almost certainly illegal use of Trump Foundation money to settle lawsuits and buy garish paintings of Trump to display at his businesses.

The Clinton Foundation? For all of the scare stories, there's no evidence of any illegal activities, but if you just keep yelling "pay to play!" long enough it becomes a fact. And some of the alleged scandals turn out to be something far less than scandalous:

For example, a front-page Wall Street Journal story this week examined how the fragrance industry paid Bill Clinton to give a speech and also gave money to the global initiative’s Haiti office to help develop lime orchards in impoverished Haiti to ensure an abundant supply of citrus juice used for making nice scents. So some poor Haitians were better off because they had a buyer for their fruit.

Shocking! Now, Johnston doesn't mention the claim that Hillary Clinton gave uranium mining rights in the U.S. to a Russian company in exchange for a contribution to the Clinton Foundation, but we will: It's bullshit.

One thing that is sure: The Clinton Foundation does good stuff for people the Clintons aren't even related to!

At least 11 million people are breathing as this is written because of the Clintons’ charitable endeavors, which increased the number of poor people overseas getting life-sustaining drugs to suppress HIV from about 250,000 to nearly 12 million.

And finally, there's openness: The Clinton Foundation gets excellent ratings from the charity watchdog group Charity Navigator, while the Goofus Foundation doesn't release enough information to even get a rating from the group.

So there you go: The Clinton Foundation is a charity that does good work. The Donald J. Trump Foundation, like Donald J. Trump, is something else.

You should totally read David Cay Johnston's indispensable book Perfectly Legal: The Covert Campaign to Rig Our Tax System to Benefit the Super Rich--and Cheat Everybody Else, whose title takes care of any need to say what it's about. Man knows his tax policy. He's also got a new book out, The Making of Donald Trump, which has no subtitle and looks like a good read. Buy with the linkies and give Yr Wonkette a piece of the action!

[Daily Beast / LAT]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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