Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Politics

Trump campaign: 'Coincidences and errors' led to foundation's contribution to Pam Bondi

TALLAHASSEE — Donald Trump's campaign spokeswoman admitted Tuesday that his charitable foundation made mistakes when it donated to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi's political committee.

In 2013, the Trump Foundation gave $25,000 to And Justice for All, a committee supporting Bondi's re-election bid.

The trouble is, federal tax law bans 501(c)(3) charities like the Trump Foundation from contributing to political campaigns.

That's the subject of a complaint filed Monday with the Internal Revenue Service.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a watchdog group, asked for an investigation into whether the Trump Foundation should lose its tax-exempt status and whether its accountants committed perjury by not properly disclosing a political contribution on its tax forms.

Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks said Tuesday that the Trump Foundation has been in touch with the IRS to fix the problems, but she didn't know what that would entail.

The foundation didn't intend to skirt the law, she said, chalking it all up to accounting mistakes.

"It's an unfortunate series of coincidences and errors," Hicks said.

Here's how the campaign says it happened:

Bondi asked for a donation to support her re-election. The request was sent to a clerk working at the Trump Organization.

But that staffer confused the political committee for a Utah-based nonprofit with a similar name and decided to write the check from the charitable foundation.

To make matters worse, the Trump Foundation did not list the $25,000 donation as a political contribution in its tax filings that year. Instead, it noted giving to a third group, called Justice for All, an anti-abortion advocacy group in Kansas.

The Trump campaign did not respond to followup questions Tuesday asking which of his entities should have given the money to Bondi, although contributions to other Florida candidates have come from Trump personally.

Why has it taken nearly three years to catch the problem?

"It wasn't discovered until today," Hicks said Tuesday.

The contribution, however, has been highlighted by the media since Bondi endorsed Trump for president at a campaign rally in Tampa on March 14.

The donation has dredged up old questions about whether the $25,000 check was intended to prevent a state investigation into Trump University, a for-profit college sued in New York for using false promises to "scam" people out of more than $40 million.

The Attorney General's office never opened an investigation, although Bondi was not directly involved in the decision, her spokesman, Whitney Ray, said.

And Justice for All treasurer Nancy Watkins said at the time that she was "comfortable with the propriety of the contribution from the Trump Foundation," citing no concerns about the Trump University issue.

In 2013, Trump acknowledged making the contribution.

Asked specifically about the Trump Foundation donation in an email from the Times/Herald, he said at the time: "Pam Bondi is a fabulous representative of the people — Florida is lucky to have her."

Contact Michael Auslen at [email protected] Follow @MichaelAuslen.

Comments
23 seek vacant PSC post

23 seek vacant PSC post

There is another Mariano seeking a job in Tallahassee.Pasco County Commissioner Jack Mariano, the father of state Rep. Amber Mariano, R-Hudson, is seeking an appointment to the Florida Public Service Commission, the powerful board regulating Florida ...
Published: 01/16/18
Trump administration to take DACA repeal directly to the Supreme Court

Trump administration to take DACA repeal directly to the Supreme Court

SAN FRANCISCO — The Trump administration on Tuesday appealed a judge’s ruling temporarily blocking its decision to end protections for hundreds of thousands of young immigrants and announced plans to seek a U.S. Supreme Court review even before an ap...
Published: 01/16/18
North Korea calls Trump a ‘lunatic’ and a ‘loser’ in response to nuclear button tweet

North Korea calls Trump a ‘lunatic’ and a ‘loser’ in response to nuclear button tweet

North Korea’s official news agency responded Tuesday to President Donald Trump’s controversial "nuclear button tweet," describing it as the "the spasm of a lunatic," according to AP."The spasm of Trump in the new year reflects the desperate mental st...
Published: 01/16/18
‘What do we want? Apology!’ Hundreds of Haiti supporters protest near Mar-a-Lago

‘What do we want? Apology!’ Hundreds of Haiti supporters protest near Mar-a-Lago

Sun Sentinel (TNS)PALM BEACH — About 500 Haitian-Americans and their supporters used the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday to protest derogatory comments President Donald Trump reportedly made about immigrants from majority-black countries."What do we w...
Published: 01/15/18

U.S. forced to renew DACA permits as furor over Trump’s immigration slur persists

Los Angeles Times (TNS)WASHINGTON — The Trump administration, under court order, said it would resume taking applications to renew temporary protections from deportation for hundreds of thousands of immigrants who were brought to the country illegall...
Published: 01/14/18
GOP senator: Reports of Trump’s ‘s---hole’ comments a ‘gross misrepresentation’

GOP senator: Reports of Trump’s ‘s---hole’ comments a ‘gross misrepresentation’

A Republican senator is insisting that President Donald Trump did not use a vulgar term in referring to African countries during a closed-door meeting on immigration that he and five other senators attended last week.Georgia Sen. David Perdue called ...
Published: 01/14/18
The Trump-O-Meter: PolitiFact rates Donald Trump's first year

The Trump-O-Meter: PolitiFact rates Donald Trump's first year

By Angie Drobnic Holan PolitiFact Editor Much of Donald Trump’s presidency has been defined by provocative tweets and gloves-off fights. But Trump has used the power of the presidency to move the country toward the overarching vision he ran o...
Published: 01/12/18
Updated: 01/16/18
Ethics panel advised to deny legal fees in unfounded Ken Hagan complaint

Ethics panel advised to deny legal fees in unfounded Ken Hagan complaint

A Florida Ethics Commission staff attorney has drafted an order denying Hillsborough County’s request for reimbursement for attorney fees from one of four citizens who filed unsustained ethics complaints against Commissioner Ken Hagan.The commission ...
Published: 01/12/18
Haitians in Tampa Bay area react to Trump’s slur:

Haitians in Tampa Bay area react to Trump’s slur: "It’s very racist"

Fadia Richardson had just finished dinner Thursday when she sat down to watch the news and saw a report she didn’t want to believe.In an Oval Office meeting with lawmakers to discuss immigration policy earlier in the day, President Donald Trump repor...
Published: 01/12/18
Sen. Durbin says Trump said ‘hate-filled things’

Sen. Durbin says Trump said ‘hate-filled things’

WASHINGTON — A senator present at a White House immigration meeting says President Donald Trump used vulgar language to describe African countries, saying he "said these hate filled things and he said them repeatedly." Sen. Dick Durbin, an Illinois D...
Published: 01/12/18