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October 05, 2016

Daily News Roundup: Trump Charity Gave to Right-Wing Groups in Run-Up to Race

Report Tracks Trump Fund’s Giving to Conservative Groups: Donald Trump’s charity donated $286,000 to right-wing advocacy and policy groups in the years leading up to his run for president, according to a RealClearPolitics analysis of Donald J. Trump Foundation tax filings. From 2011 to 2014, the foundation made several contributions to conservative nonprofits, some of which gave Mr. Trump high-profile speaking engagements as he mulled a White House bid. Most of the recipients are 501(c)(3) charities, but in one case a gift went to a group’s 501(c)(4) political arm. Foundation giving that promoted Mr. Trump’s political aspirations could violate rules against self-dealing by charity leaders, a lawyer who specializes in charity law told RealClearPolitics. Trump campaign aides did not respond to requests for comment.

Clinton Foundation Adds Disclosures to N.Y. Filings: Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s family charity submitted material to the New York State attorney general’s office Tuesday to fill gaps in its 2012 filing, reports The Wall Street Journal. The amended filing, which state regulators made public, gives a fuller breakdown of revenues, expenses, and liabilities for the foundation and affiliated entities. The foundation’s New York filings had drawn scrutiny for failing to itemize donations from abroad as required by state rules. The move came one day after Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, a Democrat who is backing Ms. Clinton, ordered her rival Donald Trump’s foundation to cease fundraising in the state due to a violation of New York charity regulations.

In other Clinton Foundation news, the organization denied a claimed breach of its computer network by the purported Russian hacker known as Guccifer 2.0, Fortune writes. In a blog post, Guccifer, whom some security experts call a front for Russian spy agencies, posted photos of files and folders supposedly taken from foundation servers with titles such as “PAC Fundraisers” and “Pay to Play.” A spokesman for the charity said it has no evidence that its systems were broken into and that “none of the folders or files shown are from the Clinton Foundation.”

Foundations Provide Fireworks in VP Debate: As they have throughout the election campaign, Hillary Clinton’s and Donald’s Trump’s family charities figured in Tuesday’s vice-presidential debate between Republican Mike Pence and Democrat Tim Kaine, The Washington Post writes. Mr. Pence accused Ms. Clinton of showing favoritism to Clinton Foundation donors while serving as secretary of state and reiterated Republican claims that the foundation devotes only a 10th of its resources to charitable work, which fact-checking site PolitiFact rated “false.” Mr. Kaine defended the Clinton charity’s global-development work and noted the Donald J. Trump Foundation’s contribution to a Florida political organization, a violation of Internal Revenue Service regulations for which Mr. Trump paid a $2,500 penalty. The Week magazine also summarized the debate’s detour into philanthropic issues.

Cities and States Turn Up Heat in Fight Over Taxing Elite Colleges: Stateline, a Pew Charitable Trusts-backed news outlet that covers state-level policy issues, runs down efforts across the Northeast to limit property-tax exemptions for well-endowed private universities or press the institutions to pony up bigger payments for police, fire, and other local services. The article focuses on the town-gown dispute in New Haven, Conn. — where local officials and state lawmakers are looking into taxing Yale University, which owns about half the financially struggling city’s property — but also notes similar debates in New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Maine. University officials contend their institutions already make significant economic contributions to their home cities.

Conn. Court Tosses $12 Million Award in Boy Scouts Abuse Case: The state Supreme Court overturned a verdict against the Boy Scouts of America that produced the largest damage award in a case involving alleged molestation by scouting officials, the Associated Press reports. The justices ordered a new trial, saying that the judge in the original proceeding improperly denied a defense request to instruct jurors about negligence liability. The unidentified plaintiff, who had been a Boy Scout in Connecticut in the 1970s, sued the youth charity in 2012, arguing that it should be held liable for failing to prevent his molestation by a troop leader.

Career Motives in Play for Executives Serving on Charity Boards: Corporate leaders who join nonprofit boards are often looking to boost their careers while doing good for others, writes The Wall Street Journal. Charity trusteeships can help senior managers build their leadership abilities; develop skills they don’t tap on the job, such as fundraising; and forge connections with other business leaders, the Journal writes. A recent survey of some 2,300 directors at major U.S. nonprofits found that a quarter hoped to advance professional or personal interests through their board service. But because the unpaid positions require considerable time and money, passion for the group’s cause should figure strongly in decisions to join a board, experts say.

N.Y. Ethics Agency Widens Review of de Blasio Nonprofit: The State Joint Commission on Public Ethics has served a broad subpoena on City Hall seeking communications among Mayor Bill de Blasio, his aides, and donors to a now-defunct nonprofit that promoted the mayor’s policy agency, The New York Times writes, citing sources with knowledge of the matter. The demand appears to represent a widening of the commission’s investigation of the Campaign for One New York, which previously focused on alleged lobbying by the advocacy group but now may be addressing whether contributions from lobbyists or their clients with business before the city constituted undisclosed gifts to the mayor. The new subpoena was issued on September 14, four days after a judge refused to quash a prior document demand form the ethics panel.