Another fun fact from the Post today. Four years ago, Donald Trump bought an autographed Tim Tebow (!) football helmet at a charity auction. How did he pay for it? With funds from his own charity, of course! Why should Masters of the Universe like Trump have to sully themselves by paying for things with their own money?
Four years ago, at a charity fundraiser in Palm Beach, Donald Trump got into a bidding war at the evening’s live auction. The items up for sale: A Denver Broncos helmet, autographed by then-star quarterback Tim Tebow, and a Tebow jersey.
Trump won, eventually, with a bid of $12,000. Afterward, he posed with the helmet. His purchase made gossip-column news: a flourish of generosity, by a mogul with money to burn. “The Donald giveth, and The Donald payeth,” wrote the Palm Beach Daily News. “Blessed be the name of The Donald.”
But Trump didn’t actually pay with his own money.
Instead, the Susan G. Komen organization — the breast-cancer nonprofit that hosted the party — got a $12,000 payment from another nonprofit , the Donald J. Trump Foundation.
Trump himself sent no money. (In fact, a Komen spokeswoman said, Trump has never given a personal gift of cash to the Komen organization.) He paid the bill with money from a charity he founded in 1987, but which is largely stocked with other people’s money. Trump is the foundation’s president. But, at the time of the auction, Trump had given none of his own money to the foundation for three years running.
Is this legal? Of course not.
The answer may depend on what became of the helmet and jersey.
If they are still in Trump’s possession — perhaps on display at one of his homes or properties — that might be deemed improper, if the IRS ever looks.
“That would be a classic violation of the prohibition on a charity being operated for the private inurement (benefit) of the charity’s creator,” Brett G. Kappel, an expert on tax-exempt organizations at the Akerman law firm in Washington, wrote in an email. The Trump Foundation does not appear to have offices of its own. It is headquartered at Trump’s business offices in New York and has no full-time staff.
Where’s the helmet? Trump’s not saying. Which says, ahem, quite a lot.
So what happened to the the helmet and jersey? Where are they today?
Trump’s campaign did not respond to requests for comment. In a Wall Street Journal video of Trump’s business office in New York last year, he showed off a table of sports helmets — but the Tebow helmet did not appear to be among them.
This drip drip drip of sleazy, shitty stories is not going to end, for one simple reason. Donald Trump is a sleazy, shitty man who does sleazy, shitty things. As we’ve discussed, this should not be news. He’s the alligator, doing what alligators do. But the allegedly respectable Republicans supporting him?
Altogether now: they stand with the alligator. And THAT, friends, is the news.