March 21, 2016 — The Donald J. Trump Foundation appears to have illegally given $25,000 to a political organization associated with Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi while her office was reportedly considering joining a lawsuit involving Trump University, and to have failed to disclose the contribution in its tax return, according to an IRS complaint filed today by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).
According to Florida campaign finance records, in September 2013 the Trump Foundation contributed $25,000 to And Justice for All, a section 527 political organization. Section 501(c)(3) private foundations like the Trump Foundation, however, are prohibited from all political activity, including contributing to political organizations. Despite making the political contribution, on its tax forms, the Trump Foundation claimed it did not transfer any money to a 527 organization or engage in any political activity and failed to report the contribution to And Justice for All.
“The rules are clear: a tax-exempt charitable foundation cannot support a political group,” CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said. “The apparent failure to tell the IRS about this political activity makes matters worse and is something we’ve seen too many organizations doing lately.”
According to news accounts, the contribution was made three days after it was reported that Bondi’s office was reviewing joining the New York Attorney General’s lawsuit against Trump University. Bondi’s office decided not to join the suit or open an investigation.
“The IRS needs to look into this,” Bookbinder said. “It is a serious problem if charitable foundations are used to influence politics.”