The Family That Scams Together ...
Last week, New York Judge Saliann Scarpulla told the Trumps to get their shit together and settle the Trump Foundation lawsuit with the New York Attorney General, saying, "Yous best get out of this litigation fast as you can. 'Cause once you start shakin' The Stupid Tree, you never know what's gonna fall out."
OKAY, FINE. We're paraphrasing. But Judge Scarpulla did suggest in the strongest terms that the Trumps should just wind down their scam charity, pay the fine, and accept the one-year ban on sitting on non-profit boards before any more unpleasantness occurs. Plus, she's probably going to ban them anyway, "with or without your agreement." (That's a real quote.)
Two weeks ago, we told you about the NY AG's lawsuit against the Trump Foundation, Poppy Trump, and the three feckless spawn from his first marriage. Seems that the Trumps violated tax law six ways from Sunday, allowed campaign manager Corey Lewandowski to commandeer the charity for the use of the campaign, and violated election law by using charitable funds in campaign events. Oooopsie!
But the Trumps will fight to the death to defend their right to use their charity as a campaign publicity fund. What even is the purpose of running for president if you can't use money donated to veterans for photo-ops?
Trump attorney Alan Futerfas just had one request:
Is there any way to have the hearing the second week of November after Nov. 6?
Gosh, what's happening on November 6?
Judge Scarpulla laughed and said she expects hearings in October, unless the sides can show good cause to postpone. Odds that the Trumps actually go to trial on this stinker are low -- they talk a good game, but they're weak sad poop.
More interesting is the huge pile of depositions and internal Trumpland emails the NY AG posted online. Almost like she's leaving a trail of evidence for any federal investigative agency that would care to prosecute the Trump family for tax or election crimes! Hmmmm.
We read through excerpts of the deposition of Allen Weisselberg, longtime CFO of the Trump Organization, and they are ... interesting!
For instance, New York requires the board of every non-profit meet once a year. Which the Trump Foundation failed to do, but don't blame Mr. Weisselberg, since he never even knew he was on the board. He just signed the tax return without looking at it, like CPAs always do LOL.
And who asked him to grab the Foundation checkbook and get on a plane bound for Iowa in January 2016 so Trump could pose with those gigantic prop checks? Mr. Weisselberg just can't recall!
Was it Corey Lewandowski, Trump's campaign manager? MAAAAAAYBE!
But even if it was, Corey was moonlighting as a charitable fundraiser, and asking him to bring the Foundation's checkbook to a campaign event had nothing at all to do with the campaign.
And how did it come about that Jeff Mooney, who worked for Mr. Weisselberg at the Trump Organization, got dispatched to set up a fundraising website? Mr. Weisselberg has no idea! He just knew there was some independent contractor fella named maybe "Brad Pascal" working with Mooney to set it up.
WHAT?!?!?!? Donald Trump's top deputy for the past forty years is saying that he didn't know who Brad Parscale was in October of 2017? He went out of his way to say under oath to New York state investigators that he passed this project off to some independent contractor whose name he can't even remember?
O RLY? Because Parscale managed Trump's digital campaign, and last October he was all over the news bragging about how he'd used liberal Facebook and Twitter to dump "Hillary Loves the Black Panthers" into the social media feed of every voter in Middle America (and "Hillary's a cop" into the social media of every African American kid in Milwaukee).
These social platforms are all invented by very liberal people on the west and east coast. And we figure out how to use it to push conservative values. I don't think they thought that would ever happen.
The Mueller investigation was crawling all over the Trump people in October, but Allen Weisselberg never picked up a newspaper or answered a federal investigator's question about his contacts with the campaign?
And, hey, in case the IRS is out there watching -- or any congressman who might find himself helming an investigative committee come November -- here's the part of the deposition where Weisselberg admits to having failed to distribute the required five percent of the Foundation's assets to charity.
Gonna be lit when Trump gets deposed and asked why he signed his name on tax returns saying he was in compliance with the law and the Foundation's bylaws. (It will not be lit, because it will never happen. They'll settle.)
And for all you tax nerds out there, see if you can spot the admission of liability in this nugget from Weisselberg's deputy Mooney, when he splained to the nice people from the NY AG's office how the Foundation made grants.
If you said, you can't use charitable funds to pay for tickets to "a gala or event of some sort" because you have received something of value in exchange for your contribution -- CONGRATULATIONS! And if you think an experienced CPA like Allen Weisselberg didn't know that, then you are gullible enough to be a Trump voter.
TL, DR? This is bullshit, and the Trumps' dirty laundry is about to get an extended airing. Gross! And also ...
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.