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The eyes seem to follow your wallet around the room


We got yet another creative explanation Wednesday of why it's perfectly OK for Donald Trump to have paid for lawsuit settlements, ugly portraits, and a loser f'ball player's autographed helmet using funds from his charitable foundation: According to a longtime aide to the Trump family, it's all just fine, because while the IRS might have rules about how charities can spend their money, Donald Trump earned that charity money fair and square in the first place, so he can do what he likes with it. Yes, you might want to apply some ibuprofen directly to your cerebral cortex before trying to think about that too hard (note: not real medical advice).

Lynne Patton, who works as a "senior assistant" to three of the adult Trumpenspawn and also serves as VP of Eric Trump's very own charitable foundation -- so you know she's an expert on charities! -- explained it all to the Des Moines Register:

“A lot of times Mr. Trump will give a speech somewhere or he’ll raise money in some way and he asks that that entity, instead of cutting a personal check to him, cut it to his charity,” Patton said. “That’s money that otherwise would’ve been in his personal account, right?”

“So when he cuts a check from his foundation for let’s say, St. Jude, it is his money,” she added. “No ifs, ands or ways about it.”

Yr Wonkette is not even a tax attorney and that sounds extremely lame to us! However the money gets into the charitable foundation, we're fairly sure that once it's there, under IRS rules, it needs to be used for charitable purposes only, not buying ugly paintings -- even at a charity auction -- which go up in a lounge at your dumb golf course. Let's look at Patton's moneysplaining further:

Patton did not provide a specific example of a third-party payment that would have gone to Trump directly but was instead directed to the foundation. But she provided a hypothetical: a corporation paying Trump an honorarium for a speech, and Trump directing that payment to his foundation rather than his personal bank account.

“There are corporations that hire him to give public speeches all the time,” she said. “Sometimes, he says ‘Hey, I’d rather you cut a check to my charity instead of cutting it to me.’ ”

When that happens, she said, it’s the equivalent of Trump making the charitable gift himself.

“That’s his money going into his foundation,” Patton said. “Just because the check doesn’t say 'Donald and Melania Trump, TD Bank or Chase Manhattan (Bank)' doesn’t mean it’s not their money.”

No, we really don't think it works that way, even though we are not an attorney. Especially not if he's writing off his speaking fee as a charitable contribution instead of as income, not that we'd ever know because we'll never ever ever see the man's taxes, since that would raise a lot of uncomfortable questions. We bet the attorneys among the Wonketariat could explain whether there's something wrong with Patton's reasoning here, and why. We will bet it has something to do with little fiddly details like distinctions between "income" and "charitable donations," not to mention those silly IRS regulations against "self-dealing," a term that a lot of us have learned about recently. You might think that as the VP of a charitable foundation herself, Ms. Patton has heard of IRS rules now and again? To be sure, she is the VP of a Trump foundation, so that may mean she doesn't have to bother with such things.

You see, kids, Donald Trump's finances are like a plate at a Thanksgiving potluck -- one he hasn't brought anything to himself. It gets loaded up with a lot of stuff from different people, and he's not too particular about whether some gravy sloshes onto the peach cobbler. Trump doesn't care about dumb IRS rules saying you can't let some foods touch other foods, because it all ends up the same place, and is eventually converted into the energy that makes Donald Trump go. And as we can see from his spokespeople, it all ends up as a giant pile of poop anyway.

Now, for the sake of completeness, America's Guide To the Trump Foundation, David Fahrenthold, took to the Twitters to ask some big donors if Ms. Patton's theory explains their large donations to the Donald J. Trump Foundation:

We bet he's asked them using less public means as well, but he keeps reporting that none of the big donors to the Trump Foundation want to answer his questions, possibly because he is such a biased meanie who's obsessed with Donald Trump doing his job well. Or maybe Fahrenthold's just a big old liar who's jealous of Donald Trump's wealth and classiness? Patton didn't care for Fahrenthold's reporting, that's for sure:

Patton dismissed The Post's reporting by David Fahrenthold, saying, "This is a disgruntled reporter who’s stretching the truth."

Ah, and then Des Moines Register reporter Jason Noble asked her some follow-up questions so she could explain what truths Fahrenthold stretched, right? We don't know! The article ends by linking to Fahrenthold's work at the Washington Post, but if Patton offered any details on what she thought Fahrenthold got wrong, they're not mentioned.

[Des Moines Register via TPM / David Fahrenthold on Twitter]

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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