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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Group files IRS complaint against Trump for Bondi donation

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi walk to meet supporters before a rally at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa on Aug. 24, 2016.

LOREN ELLIOTT | Times

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi walk to meet supporters before a rally at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa on Aug. 24, 2016.

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The Washington watchdog group CREW has filed an IRS complaint alleging Donald Trump and his Trump Foundation have broken the law by giving $25,000 to a political committee backing Attorney General Pam Bondi.

“The complaint calls for an investigation into the Foundation for violating the tax code by providing a private benefit to Trump and his business interests and falsely representing its political giving on its tax returns. The complaint further calls for an investigation into Trump for engaging in prohibited self-dealing,” reads a release.

“A private foundation cannot operate for the benefit of its founders or board, or businesses they own or manage. Likewise, it is illegal self-dealing when an officer or director of a private foundation uses the foundation for their own benefit. As the founder of the Foundation, Trump unquestionably cannot benefit from its actions. The Foundation’s contribution to the Bondi-backing group appears to be an attempt to benefit Trump and the Trump-owned Trump University by influencing the Attorney General’s decision on a lawsuit against Trump University."

Bondi has denied that the money influenced her decision, and Trump this week told reporters that he never spoke to her about the mounting complaints against his branded real estate seminars.

Related coverage > In Trump Institute, Donald Trump had Florida partners with a record of fraud <

This is the second complaint Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has lodged against the Trump Foundation. The donation is back in the news after it was reported Trump paid a $2,500 IRS penalty for violating rules against using a foundation for political purposes. Hillary Clinton's campaign has sought to amplfiy that as a counter to questions about her own foundation.

“Private foundations exist for the public good, that’s why they’re tax-exempt,” CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said. “They absolutely cannot be used to attempt to quash an investigation into their founder’s business.”

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 7, 2016 9:30am]

    

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