Seriously: Donald Trump Is A Penny-Ante Swindler

… and David Farenholdt, at the Washington Post, deserves at least one Pulitzer. I’ve been working on a post about his findings for the last couple of weeks, but he keeps churning out new information. None of which the cable-news Media Village Idiots have deigned to discuss — until now.

The Donald J. Trump Foundation is not like other charities. An investigation of the foundation — including examinations of 17 years of tax filings and interviews with more than 200 individuals or groups listed as donors or beneficiaries — found that it collects and spends money in a very unusual manner.

For one thing, nearly all of its money comes from people other than Trump. In tax records, the last gift from Trump was in 2008. Since then, all of the donations have been other people’s money — an arrangement that experts say is almost unheard of for a family foundation.

Trump then takes that money and generally does with it as he pleases. In many cases, he passes it on to other charities, which often are under the impression that it is Trump’s own money.

In two cases, he has used money from his charity to buy himself a gift. In one of those cases — not previously reported — Trump spent $20,000 of money earmarked for charitable purposes to buy a six-foot-tall painting of himself.

Money from the Trump Foundation has also been used for political purposes, which is against the law. The Washington Post reported this month that Trump paid a penalty this year to the Internal Revenue Service for a 2013 donation in which the foundation gave $25,000 to a campaign group affiliated with Florida Attorney General Pamela Bondi (R).

Trump’s foundation appears to have repeatedly broken IRS rules, which require nonprofit groups to file accurate paperwork. In five cases, the Trump Foundation told the IRS that it had given a gift to a charity whose leaders told The Post that they had never received it. In two other cases, companies listed as donors to the Trump Foundation told The Post that those listings were incorrect….

This guy is Max Bialystock without the charm. Read more



No money, mo’ problems

As many of you know, I’m fueled creatively by my massive hatred of the Washington Post editorial board. I hate Jeff Bezos too, not just because he’s reinvented the sweatshop but also because I hate smug bald people in general — Moby, Matt Bai, the Rock.

That said, the Washington Post newsroom is absolutely killing it with its coverage of Trump. David Farenthold should get a Pulitzer:

The Donald J. Trump Foundation is not like other charities. An investigation of the foundation — including examinations of 17 years of tax filings and interviews with more than 200 individuals or groups listed as donors or beneficiaries — found that it collects and spends money in a very unusual manner.

For one thing, nearly all of its money comes from people other than Trump. In tax records, the last gift from Trump was in 2008. Since then, all of the donations have been other people’s money — an arrangement that experts say is almost unheard of for a family foundation.

Trump then takes that money and generally does with it as he pleases. In many cases, he passes it on to other charities, which often are under the impression that it is Trump’s own money.








A thousand and one posts

Wow, that last post was my 1,000th post here at Balloon Juice. I was not expecting that when I first got started here.

I’ve been a Balloon Juice reader and primarily a lurker since before the Cole Conversion time. Over the summer of 2013, I saw a lot of good questions about the ACA and how it would effect our community. I got in touch with a front-pager I know in real life and asked if I could write a couple of posts to answer a couple of questions. He e-mailed John and John gave me the keys to this place. I figured that I would twenty to thirty thousand words in forty or fifty posts and then I would be done.

Over the past three years, I have eight hundred or more health insurance posts with about half a million words written.

That was a slight miscalculation.

I’ve rediscovered how much I like to write about a subject that I like. Every day I get to answer a question, explore something that I heard something about but now need to explain, or advocate for a slightly better world with tweaks to the current policy universe. I’ve been able to point people in the right direction when they are getting screwed over. We’ve been able to go through complicated choice structures to get community members taken care of when they know they need to do something but do not know what they have to do.

At the same time, my education has deepened as the community here and a second community of wonks, advocates and researchers. If I need to know about anti-trust law, I have a couple of world class experts who share their time with me. If I need to know more about Medicare, I can talk to people who are on it, I can talk with CMS techno-wonks, and national level advocates. If I need to learn more accounting, there are plenty of people who will share their knowledge and expertise with me.

I never thought I would have written here for more than a couple of months. But between all of you, the community and John’s amazing ability to let things flow, I am more energized than I ever thought I would be a thousand posts ago.



Flown

The little finches below have cleverly created an apartment complex in the ruff of a palm tree located in the increasingly fashionable (i.e., Disney-fied) Ybor City section of Tampa:

Finches

I’ve been thinking about nests a lot lately because mine is about to be empty. The fledgling is flying off to college this week, leaving her father and myself without a chick to look after for the first time in nearly two decades. Damn. It’s both liberating and devastating.

The liberating part: We no longer have to set a good example / make sure no one decides to stage a bubble party in our home in our absence, so we can wander around Ybor City on a Sunday afternoon, catching a movie, drinking beer, eating pizza, watching finches and contemplating the explosion in the number of tattoo shops:

walkens welcome

We didn’t Walken to get tattoos, but we talked about it in a non-serious way, competing to come up with the tattoo idea that our daughter would find the most embarrassing. (KISS face tattoos! Kid’s baby picture reproduced on our calves!)

Also, we’re thinking about moving further out into the country now that the only resident who would be dismayed by that notion is decamping, so we looked at some potential new homes this weekend too. At one property, we saw this gigantic spider:

giant spider

I’ve included a photo of it next to a normal-sized flood light so you can contemplate the scale of the creature. There were several such specimens around the empty house; I walked around waving a stick in front of me so I wouldn’t accidentally face-plant in Shelob’s web.

Had any neighbors been around to see that (and they weren’t; the point is to have no close-by neighbors), they might have mistaken the stick-waving for some odd ritual to expel evil spirits. And from my perspective, they wouldn’t have been wrong, though the mister assures me those spiders are perfectly harmless. But I maintain that anything that can make me flee in panic into a tree hard enough to get a concussion isn’t harmless!

In the meantime, we plan to turn the kid’s old room into a nano-brewery, freeing up the current office / guest room from its shelves of carboys, bottling equipment, etc. Summer will end soon, and it will be beer brewing time again, thank FSM.

But this turn of the seasons will rob our home of its heart in many ways. The kid isn’t going far; she’ll be within half an hour of the mother ship, and even if we move, we’ll be close enough that she could conceivably live with us again and commute to school if she wanted.

But she won’t want to, at least not on any kind of long-term basis. We’ve done our jobs well enough to become obsolete. There is great pride in that, but great sorrow too.

Please feel free to discuss whatever. Open thread!



Side Note Open Thread: Roger Stone, Less Than Meets the Eye

Kudos to Media Matters for spotting this, which might’ve gotten some traction this morning if Trump hadn’t decided to start calling for his supporters to shoot people:

QUESTIONER: With regard to the October surprise, what would be your forecast on that given what Julian Assange has intimated he’s going to do?

ROGER STONE: Well, it could be any number of things. I actually have communicated with Assange. I believe the next tranche of his documents pertain to the Clinton Foundation but there’s no telling what the October surprise may be.

Stone was working for Richard Nixon when the original October surprise may or may not have tipped the election to the Repubs (at the cost of many innocent lives, but what does that matter to the GOP?). He’s never stopped using that particular street-cred tidbit to inflate his resume, and his fees. Anybody can say he’s “communicated” with Assange — if you include public comments about the man, half the people on this blog have ‘communicated’ with Assange — but anything beyond posting YAY JULIAN YOU GO GUY on social media implies (a) Roger Stone has access; (b) Julian Assange cares about what Roger Stone wants; (c) Julian Assange can be asked/forced/bargained into compliance with anyone’s agenda other than Julian Assange’s (if that). It’s bullshit, fed to an audience eager to pay for it.

In semi-related news, I still {heart} my senior Senator…

I’m collecting tweets about “Second Amendment solutions” for an aggregation post later tonight, incidentally. Brace yourselves…



Thanks, Everyone!

Blanche_The_Readers

Many, many thanks to Scav, Betty, and everyone here for the good wishes on The Hunt for Vulcan making the Royal Society’s book prize finals.

I feel like I have to thank the book itself as well.  I love all my book-children equally (if not always for the same things), but HoV was definitely the kindest one I’ve ever worked on.  I’d wake up, grab my coffee, and go to my desk, and it would tell me what it wanted to be that day, so I’d write that.  Then damned if it wouldnt’ do it again the next day … and the next, until we agreed that it was done.   That’s kindness.

I’d be remiss in my authorly duty if I didn’t also note that it’s just out in paperback in the US and will be so next week in the UK. (You can always get the hardcover, the e-book, or the audiobook if you’d like — at all the usual suspects. (see below).

ETA, per commenter Mike J.:  here’s the Amazon link for the hardcover, the paperback, the kindle edition, and the audiobook.  As Mike J. notes, buying via the affiliate link helps the site.  I’d only add that communities and all those books that don’t get the Oprah/Fresh Air/zeitgeist boost utterly depend on the support of independent bookstores — and the relatively few remaining Barnes and Nobles and the like too.  So if you’ve got a brick-and-mortar store near you, and you can stand the higher price you’ll pay compared to Amazon, I’d urge you to help them out, and me (and any other writer you like), by telling the actual humans there that they might like to talk the book up.

OK — back to your regularly scheduled programming:

To answer a couple of questions from Betty’s thread:

Alas, no owls.  I found out a few days ago from my UK publisher, Head of Zeus (no, really).  The Royal Society lets the various publishers know under embargo to help with the promotion of the prize and the short listed books.

What am I going to do with the money? A) never price the unborn calf. B) most of the shortlist winnings are already allocated to Q3 estimated taxes ;-( (and whew for the windfall). C)  I might splurge on a new and faster bicycle. (Noting, as ever that the bike may change but, alas, the rider does not.)

Who did I tell first? My wife and son, obviously. My agent and editor over here.  And one more member of my household.  He was strangely unmoved by the news:

Tikka-you talking to me?

Questioned more closely, he restated his position:

Tikka hot c:u

Again:  my thanks to everyone, and especially to those who have or will read about the planet that was and wasn’t there.

Image: Jacques-Émile Blanche, The Readers, 1890.

 

 



Seriously: Mr. Khizr Khan Has Very Long Fingers

Thanks to several commentors for the link.

I’d post this during the daytime when more people would see it, but if it makes you sob as much as I am, better to be in private.

ETA: For those whose browers won’t show the embed, watch here: MSNBC.

Via Gawker:

My conscience compels me under these very difficult circumstances—very raw emotions—I am a very composed person. I don’t become that emotional in public discourse. But there is so much at stake. And I appeal to both of these leaders [Mitch McConnell & Paul Ryan]: This is the time. There comes a time in the history of a nation where an ethical, a moral stand has to be taken regardless of the political cost. The only reason they’re not repudiating his behavior, his threat to our democracy, our decency, our foundation, is just because of political consequences.