Sunday, July 1, 2018

Trump and His Kids Have Always Been Crooked

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="736.0"]  Trump Portrait,  paid for with charity funds. Trump Portrait, paid for with charity funds. [/caption]

If any Democrat anywhere ran a charity that was one tenth as crooked as the Donald J. Trump Foundation, Republicans would hold hearings from now until the middle of this century:

Barring an unexpected change, the Donald J. Trump Foundation will be defending itself in a New York courtroom shortly before this fall’s midterm elections. The proceedings seem unlikely to go well for the institution and its leadership; President Trump and his elder children, Ivanka, Donald, Jr., and Eric, are being sued by New York’s attorney general, Barbara Underwood, for using the charity to enrich and benefit the Trump family. On Tuesday, the judge in the case, Saliann Scarpulla, made a series of comments and rulings from the bench that hinted—well, all but screamed—that she believes the Trump family has done some very bad things.

The judge seemed frustrated, even confused, that the Trumps were fighting the case at all. At one point, she told a lawyer for the Trump children that they should just settle out of court and voluntarily agree to one of the sanctions: a demand by the Attorney General that they not serve on the boards of any nonprofits for one year. (The case will be tried in civil court, and the Trumps aren’t facing any criminal charges.) That’s far from the worst sort of punishment, but to accede to it would be a public embarrassment and an acknowledgement that the family did, indeed, use the foundation as something of a private slush fund to enrich themselves and reward their cronies. Judge Scarpulla made clear that she felt the children should agree to the sanction now, and that, if they don’t, she will probably impose a similar restriction “with or without your agreement.”

The case against the Trumps appears damning. Charitable foundations are governed by a crucial compromise: they can operate without paying taxes on the condition that their leadership insures that all money spent is spent in pursuit of the public good. The case brought by Attorney General Underwood shows that the Trump Foundation was neither well-managed nor focused on what would generally be considered the public good. Its operations were shockingly sloppy; at least one of the organization’s official board members said that he had no idea he was on the board and that the board had never met, to his knowledge. No surprise, then, that the other controls that normally govern nonprofits were absent. As David Fahrenthold, of the Washington Post, exposed in a series of stories in 2016, the Foundation did virtually none of the charitable things it claimed to be doing.

How could anyone get away with being so blatantly evil? Well, I think the last couple of years answers that question.

I don't think this case will be heard before the Mid-Term elections; I am expecting the Republicans to insist on shutting down as many investigations as possible so they can squeeze out a few razor-thin victories here and there. I think the House is already gone, thanks to retirements and I think the Senate could go if people would just frickin' vote. It will take massive turnout to gain control of the Senate.

The Trump Foundation is such an embarrassment. How do you get caught self-dealing and how do you get away with it? It's not just the portrait--they regularly promised money and support to people and failed to follow through. They had a chance to actually help people and, instead, they just lined their filthy pockets. Trump and his kids were, allegedly anyway, already wealthy. What kind of a sick and twisted person do you have to be to have a charity and then use that to make yourself wealthier? 

Alarm bells should be going off, but they're not. Trumpkins don't care. They just want to own libs. They're not even paying attention to this stuff because I can't imagine that they honestly don't see this as a warning sign. They know it's there. They're so detached from reality that they can't even imagine a scenario where their mind might be changed by facts, evidence, and actual judgments in a court of law.

Honestly, I would be willing to bet you there are Trump supporters who cling to him feverishly because they are deathly afraid of having to admit they were wrong. I don't know if those people are just going to stay home and not vote this fall. But I do know this--they're never going to vote for a Democrat, and they don't care how much of a criminal Trump and his kids are because that would be too much of a challenge to their view of the world.

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