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June 20, 2016

Liberal Group Files IRS Complaint Against Trump Foundation

A liberal group that supports Hillary Clinton filed a complaint with the Internal Revenue Service Friday accusing Donald Trump of violating tax laws by turning his charitable foundation into a “political tool,” The Washington Post reports.

The nonprofit American Democracy Legal Fund asked the IRS to consider taxing the Donald J. Trump Foundation because the presumptive Republican presidential nominee has repeatedly touted the fund's giving to veterans charities during his campaign events, at times interrupting rallies to hand over donation checks. IRS-registered charities such as the Trump Foundation are prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in political campaigns.

The pro-Clinton group has filed numerous complaints against multiple Republicans and against Sen. Bernie Sanders, Ms. Clinton's rival for the Democratic nomination, for alleged campaign and ethics violations. Experts tell the Post an IRS investigation into the foundation would likely take many months or even years and that it’s rare for a nonprofit to be taxed or lose its tax-exemptstatus as a result of an inquiry. 

The billionaire business mogul's giving has been the focus of heightened scrutiny during his White House run, with media checking on his numerous, unverified public claims over the years to donate profits from various commercial ventures to charity. If such promises turn out to have been misleading, Mr. Trump may have violated laws prohibiting deceptive business practices and fraudulent charitable solicitations, Politico writes, citing legal experts.