If it looks like a duck…

After a quite detailed investigation by David Fahrenthold of The Washington Post, several questions have been raised about The Trump Foundation. Unfortunately, we need to spend more time on these questions than the story is being given in short news cycles by main stream media.

I want to set aside the fact that Trump has not made recent contributions of his own money and likes to use other people’s money, while taking credit and accolades for the Foundation’s donations. I also want to set aside what the news is focusing most on and that is the buying of a portrait for personal use, which is illegal, if true.

What I want to focus on is the $25,000 donation made to the political campaign of the Florida Attorney General. The donation was received four days after an article appeared in a Florida newspaper revealing the Florida AG was considering charges against Trump University. After the timing of the donation, no charges were brought against Trump University. It should be noted there are three outstanding class action lawsuits against Trump University for alleged misrepresentation that began before the Trump campaign, which will continue whether he wins or loses the election. I guess the Florida claimants are not worthy of helping.

The AG denies this donation was buying influence as has the Trump campaign. Trump has admitted (after the investigation pointed it out) that the political donation from his Foundation was illegal and has made restitution, but there is more to it than that.

First, the donation was incorrectly noted on the Trump Foundation tax return as being made to a non-political group, which would have made it legitimate, if true. The campaign says this was an administrative error. Yet, it seems too coincidental that a later admitted illegal donation was incorrectly noted as a donation to a legitimate non-profit entity on the tax return.

Second, Trump’s son said his father intended to make that donation from his own funds and he signs a lot of checks, so it slipped through the cracks. Since Trump likes to use other people’s money, I have a hard time with that, but let’s set that aside for the important issue.

To me, the heart of the matter is the timing of a $25,000 donation to the Florida AG. Irrespective of its source, Trump sent a check to the AG at the time she was considering charges against Trump University. It has been noted while the check arrived four days after the article appeared, it was dated before the date of the article. I would not be surprised by gamesmanship, be it his backdating the check or being apprised of the forthcoming article or consideration of charges. I have no proof of this, but suggest that more investigation is at least warranted.

Yet, the AG’s decision to not press charges was made after the receipt of the check. Plus, Trump has bragged in debates, speeches and on the campaign trail about his buying influence with political donations, yet he denies it was done here.

Well, let me just say what I believe to be true, without proof, but on the basis of the above and his self-professed nature. If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it probably is a duck.

43 thoughts on “If it looks like a duck…

  1. It is a duck! The Attorney General Pam Bondi is known in Florida as being very closely tied to the Governor Rick Scott. Around mid June 2016 Anderson Cooper and she had a feud going on when he questioned her credibility.Frankly, Mr. Cooper skewered her.

    As I mentioned before, she is the one who in 2012, changed the date of a prisoner’s execution because the appointed date conflicted with her major fund raising event.

    Could someone like this be bought? You betcha!!

    She was able to manipulate Anderson Cooper, Gronda

    • Gronda, I was not aware of her notoriety. Of course, Scott’s reputation is poor, as well. So they sound like two peas in a pod. Please keep doing what you are doing. Keith

      • Dear Keith, Today’s Tampa Bay Times published on the top half of the front page the head line news, Trump U. simmers to a boil..underneath is a second set of headlines, ” A history of consumer complaints predates the controversy of DTs $25,000 donation to Bondi’s campaign.There are some interesting tidbits in the story that may interest you. Ciao, Gronda

      • Gronda, that is terrific. His history is there to be revealed. I hope this story has legs. Let me know if you are getting more traffic on your Hillary piece. I am going to publicize it some more with the post I did last week. Thanks for your due diligence. Keith

  2. Note to Readers: People should not view the size of the donation to lessen the value of the apparent fraud committed. But, if folks want a bigger number, they should remember that Trump owed the state of New Jersey $30 million in back taxes, refusing to pay for a couple of years. New Governor Chris Christie waived off $25 million accepting only $5 million. That seems to be quite preferential treatment.

    • Janis, this is why this and similar stories need to be circulated and highlighted. This is a microcosm of Trump’s exploiting people. It represents his modus operandi. Keith

  3. As a Florida resident (retired and escaped Michigan winters), I was at first appalled by the corrupt politics here..and how they all get away with it. I think most retirees are like me and just ignore it….we’ve watched those who have tried to bring honesty to Florida government and they’ve failed miserably. It does no good to attend even county meetings, they know you’re not part of the good old boy/girl network…..and let you know that “it’s always been done this way.” Sigh…

    • Francine, thanks for your comment. I was born and raised in Jacksonville, but my adult life has been away from the state except for visits. So, my exposure is second hand. It is sad to see corruption in politics, but it has always been present and people don’t pay attention. Keep on being involved as that is that is the only way out. Thanks again, Keith

    • Jill, it is gall. In the piece Gronda quoted from the other day, she cited a former WSJ reporter who has scrutinized the Clinton Foundation and gave it a big thumbs up. That foundation does good work, while the Trump Foundation “mirrors” its namesake, pun intended. Keith

      • I saw an interview with Bill Clinton and Charlie Rose on the Clinton Foundation. They have worked very carefully to avoid conflicts of interest and HRC almost did not take the Sec of State job. They worked closely with Obama’s folks to provide the proper distance. This, of course, is not newsworthy.

  4. Note to Readers: Was it only me that felt people should be laughing at Trump for his press conference to announce to the world that the President of the United States was born in these United States? Tomorrow, breaking story Trump announces the Pope is Catholic.

    That would have been funny enough, then he said his opponent invented the birther movement, when she has not uttered word one about Obama being born outside the US and fired a staffer who raised the issue. Trump did not invent the birther movement, but he carried the torch for five years after if had fizzled out as a story.

    Maybe that is the solution to the Trump candidacy – start laughing out loud at his inane comments and shine a white spotlight on his mean and untruthful ones. And, we start focusing on his history as that is where you see the real Trump revealed.

    • Dear Keith, You don’t know how right you are. If HRC respectfully chuckles or gives the subtle look of incredulity about 3 opportune times and when he is watching during the next debate, I can guarantee you that he will blow it.

      As for the William J.Clinton Foundation, what people need is context.

      First, peoples need to know that the vast majority of the donations to the foundation occurred from 2001 to 2009 before HRC was acting as U.S. secretary of state.

      It was first created when the U.S. government was going to limit aids medication to Africa because of how expensive this assistance would be. It was then that Bill Clinton came up with the idea to use his foundation to address this problem. He contacted several leaders around the world who cared about this issue and they ended up donating monies.

      There are ample witnesses and proof that the assistance by this foundation literally saved millions of lives of African children. The Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI under the umbrella of Clinton Foundation) has helped over 8 million people living with HIV/AIDS obtain affordable medication.

      According to the 6/23/2016 article “Inside Philanthropy” by David Callahan, “The Clinton Foundation is best understood as an umbrella entity that is carrying out several very different missions. It’s a lot like the Carter Center in key respects, but more complex. CHAI was started in 2002 to focus on saving the “lives of people with HIV/AIDS in the developing world by dramatically scaling up antiretroviral treatment.” It has since expanded to address other health issues like malaria and maternal health, operating in some 35 countries. The Gates Foundation is CHAI’s biggest funder. It gave it over $60 million last year alone.

      As per Wikipedia, CharityWatch, says that 88% of the foundation’s money goes toward its charitable mission and gave the foundation an A rating for 2016. In 2015, based on revenue of $223 million and an expense ratio of 12% the foundation spent in excess of $26 million to complete its mission.

      “On February 18, 2015, The Washington Post reported that, “the foundation has won accolades from philanthropy experts and has drawn bipartisan support, with members of the George W. Bush administration often participating in its programs.”

      Many of the World’s movers and shakers in the world who have donated monies. like Bill Gates, are peoples who Hillary Clinton would have been obliged to make time for completely independent of the foundation.

      What most people do not know is that Hillary Clinton had turned down President Obama’ request that she serve under him Secretary of State because she was worried about this issue. He is the one who pushed hard. He came up with the concept of mitigating her concerns with a compromise of rules so that she did not have to close down the foundation.I feel safe to say that she followed these rules for about 98% of the time. In short, her character assassinations in chief are going to have a difficult time uncovering “the smoking gun.”

      In short, context is everything, Gronda

      • Gronda, as usual, your thoroughness is helpful. The real story gets overshadowed by the sound byte from opposition that wants to discredit. The shallow media won’t report what you just did for time reasons.

        One of the downsides of more legitimate media is they try to be even-handed, but when contested with a Fox News and the like who is heavy conservative bias, it moves the median to the right. So, often the debate is on conservative terms. An easy example is economy, which is working pretty well, but people think we are in dire straights.

        Thanks for your thoughtful opinions. Keith

    • Rob, as you and I have lamented several times, people can ignore what he has said since the campaign and merely focus on his history. His lack of veracity is all there and it is not hard to find. Just look at this lone example. Two crimes were definitely committed – the political donation from the Foundation and the incorrect tax reporting. The purchase of painting for his own benefit, if confirmed, is also a crime. The bigger concern is the use of money to sway a politician. If true, then that is a crime for her and according to Dante, both would have a special place in his Inferno for bribers and those taking the bribe. Again, that remains to be proven.

      • As I watch what I can stomach of this campaign the and the GOP’s willingness to ignore Trump’s unambiguously unethical behavior the more convinced I am that his ‘followers’ are in the thrall of a dangerous cycle of psychopathology.

        The narcissist loves the weak because he can ‘help’ them by enslaving them which is then followed by his contempt once he is convinced they are ‘his’ to use.

        We have the smear campaigns, the rambling incoherent rages when questioned, the ability to lie without blinking, the implied threats against the characters and lives of his opposition, and the flying monkey who blandly repeat his grandiose delusions.

        This is all on display for anyone who is willing to see.

        Trump is a dangerous pathological narcissist who under normal circumstances would only have access to a few people to seduce and destroy.

        A less wealthy Trump might be confined to Second Life for people to torture and smear.

        But a rich Trump is within reach of ‘winning’ a whole nation to plunder.

        Why does our press not include a nominees mental health when we discuss the health of the future President?

        Any why does our press persist in promoting the false narrative of moral equivalency between a man who does nothing for other people and a woman who has devoted her life to public service?

      • Rob, I wish I could explain why. This man holds a press conference to tell everyone that the President was born in the US. The reason because he gave the smoldering flame of that birther lie gasoline for five years. Then he blames HRC for his lie.

        Then, for the second time he encourages violence on HRC and his people again deny he did it. We heard you Mr. Trump. I believe he is a weak man with weak character and with weak arguments. That is his history. Keith

      • All narcissists are weak…that’s why they are so hell bent on tyrannizing people into supporting their lies…

        Their one strength is that people who may be weaker than they in the moment or who feel helpless will listen to their charming lies and believe them.

        Ultimately, without a source of supply they either whither away; although they usually find a new set of suckers

        The problem with Trump is that there is no elsewhere.

        He can’t change his ‘username’ and hide behind a fresh account.

        Here’s my take on why he won’t reveal his taxes: he’s not as rich as he says he is and he knows that as soon as the enabling sycophants in the press find out they’ll turn on him.

      • Rob, all good points. I would add that he also does not want people to see how little he donates, after saying he donates a great deal. Thanks again for your advocacy. Keith

      • I wonder if lies about donations are even on his radar.

        As a narcissist he is probably more ashamed of his ‘relative’ poverty in the small community of billionaires.

        As a narcissist he assumes that other people do what he does.

        He would dismiss a mere millionaire as a loser and remove him from his life.

        The only thing that frightens a narcissist is shame.

        They behave in ways that are disgusting to most civil people without concern; but for people to find he isn’t one of the most powerful men in the world is a source of shame, and narcissists spend their lives running from shame.

        In fact, this may be his real reason for running for President.

        The POTUS is one of the most powerful person in the Nation; some might say the world.

        If Trump becomes POTUS being ‘super-rich’ means nothing…and Trump gets to go down in
        history as the man who destroyed one of the oldest democracies in human history.

        People don’t seem to understand that Trump is mentally unfit to serve as President.

        This is the price we pay for pretending that mental illness doesn’t exist.

        We can’t see the danger.

        Everything Trump does is consistent with DSM 5 diagnostic criteria for a diagnosis of Pathological Narcissism:

        “The most important characteristics of NPD are grandiosity, seeking excessive admiration, and a lack of empathy (Ronningstam & Weinberg, 2013). These identifying features can result in a negative impact on an individual’s interpersonal affairs and life general.

        In most cases, on the exterior, these patients act with an air of right and control, dismissing others, and frequently showcasing condescending or denigrating attitudes.

        Nevertheless, internally, these patients battle with strong feelings of low self esteem and inadequacy. Even though the typical NPD patient may produce great achievements, ultimately their functioning in society can be affected as these characteristics interfere with both personal and professional relationships.

        A large part of this is as result of the NPD patient being incapable of receiving disapproval or rebuff of any kind, in addition to the fact that the NPD patient typically exhibits a lack of empathy and overall disrespect for others.

        The definition of NPD states that it comprises of a persistent manner of grandiosity, a continuous desire for admiration, along with a lack of empathy. It starts by early adulthood and occurs in a range of situations, as signified by the existence of any 5 of the next 9 standards (American Psychiatric Association, 2013):

        Grandiose logic of self-importance

        A fixation with fantasies of infinite success, control, brilliance, beauty, or idyllic love

        A credence that he or she is extraordinary and exceptional and can only be understood by, or should connect with, other extraordinary or important people or institutions

        A desire for unwarranted admiration

        A sense of entitlement

        Inter-personally oppressive behavior

        No form of empathy

        Resentment of others or a conviction that others are resentful of him or her

        A display of egotistical and conceited behaviors or attitudes


      • I think you are right about his wanting to avoid embarrassment at his relative standing. I think he wants to win, but does not want to govern. And, having to divorce himself from his business interests will eat at him.

  5. This election cycle is just plain heartbreaking. If Hillary had wracked up 1% of the ginormously egregious ethical transgressions this man has been accruing throughout his life, he and his minions would have her head on a spear, staked on the Whitehouse lawn. But for some inexplicable reason, he gets away with this shit. People adore this duck. And, by the way, he’s not just any old duck. He’s a Mud Duck. Useless, tasteless, and inedibley tough.

    • Linda, it is indeed. He is now threatening to sue the New York Times for reporting the news. This is his modus operandi. When he refuses to pay am electrician or painter and they sue him for payment, he often counter sues to outgun with his better paid attorneys. Ironically, he has stiffed some of his attorneys as well. Thanks for lamenting. Keith

  6. Note to Readers: I spoke too soon. Additional disclosures of self-dealing from the Trump Foundation is a serious no-no. Please read the latest Washington Post article from David Fahrenthold on inappropriate transactions. I also encourage you to read Gronda Morin’s comment on the Clinton Foundation above.


  7. Note to Readers: In a story in The Guardian this morning it speaks of how intertwined the oil and gas industry is with the Trump campaign, but also with the several Republican Attorney Generals like Florida’s Ms. Bondi through campaign donations. These AGs are the ones who filed an injunction against Obama’s Clean Power Plan. The article laments how the GOP is betraying conservatism by passing so much cost and risk to our children and grandchildren.

  8. Note to Readers: In a follow-up story, Fahrenthold has uncovered that the Trump Foundation may not have properly filed for status as a tax-exempt foundation. If true, this may obligate the Foundation to return money and impact people’s tax returns.

  9. Note to Readers: The Charlotte Observer had an editorial piece on the Trump Foundation which covered these issues today. Yet, they added one more tidbit of which I was unaware. Apparently, Trump would sometimes ask people who owed him money to donate to the Foundation. This steerage is not illegal provided that Trump pay tax on the repayments. Absent his personal tax returns being released, it can not be determined if he handled these transactions on the up and up. The other question that would need validation in my mind, is who took the deduction on the donation and did both Trump and the donor take the deduction? But, that would require a review of more than just Trump’s tax returns.

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