Your next President

Another foundation, another scandal

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Your next President

Special to The Prospector

Special to The Prospector

Special to The Prospector

Christian Vasquez, Copy Editor

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While the media has been focused on the Clinton foundation and the influence donors had on the then Secretary of State, there has been little interest in the Donald J. Trump Foundation. That is, until a single reporter, using a mix of old-school and modern methods, started to take an in-depth look at the foundation.

David Fahrenthold of the Washington Post used a pen and pad to keep track of the hundreds of organizations that the foundation might have donated to, and updated constantly through Twitter by posting pictures of the pad and asking the social media site for ideas.

What Fahrenthold has been able to uncover through his investigation is that the Trump Foundation is less of a charity and more of a personal bank account for the Trump family. In Fahrenthold’s series of exposés, he revealed that Trump has not donated any personal money to the foundation since 2008, and instead relies on the donations of others to give money under his name. The charity does not fight any specific problems, but instead, according to Fahrenthold, seems to be “driven by the demands of Trump’s businesses and social life.”

Melania Trump used the foundation to pay for a $20,000 six-foot tall speed-painting of Donald Trump at a breast cancer fundraiser. According to a former production manager of the painter, the painting now hangs at the Trump National Golf Club in New York; IRS has a law that strictly forbids nonprofits from spending money on themselves. There have also been five charities in which the Trump Foundation reported to the IRS they donated toward but those same charities told the Washington Post they did not receive any funds.

Fahrenthold also uncovered a $25,000 donation to a super PAC aimed at getting Pam Bondi re-elected for attorney general of Florida at a time when her office was deciding whether or not to investigate complaints about Trump University. It is against the law for charitable organizations to engage in political activities, and the IRS fined Trump $2,500. Trump’s lawyer claimed the mix up originated from the super PAC having the same name as a different charity, and Bondi claims she did not have any knowledge of the pending investigation when she asked Trump for a donation.

This should not be surprising as Trump bragged about buying off politicians at the beginning of his campaign. Part of his appeal was that he was someone who answered to no one, and if anything he was responsible for buying politicians, not the other way around. But now that evidence is being uncovered proving his boastful statements, he rejects the allegations.

One of the issues Clinton has had trouble getting rid of is her perceived lack of transparency. The notion is not undeserved, after all it was only when Clinton fainted at a 9/11 memorial service that she revealed she has pneumonia. While Clinton has continuously battled this perception, Trump has had one of the least transparent campaigns and his constituents shrug it off.

His steadfast refusal to release his tax forms, even though he will be the first to do so since the ‘70s. The supposed “tens of millions” of dollars that Trump said he donated to charity, but he won’t provide any documents to prove it. On the Dr. Oz show, Trump pulled two sheets of medical tests from the infamous Dr. Bornstein no less, instead of a comprehensive medical exam and, once again, refuses to release those forms as well.

Clinton visited the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s gala on Thursday, Sept. 16, where she promised that during her first 100 days as president, she will send a proposal for comprehensive immigration reform to congress, which will include a DAPA and DACA-like program and a path to citizenship. Her plan will depend on whether or not Congress has a Democrat majority, but she also alluded to enacting an executive order if that fails. Clinton also said she will “end family detention and close private detention facilities and stop raids and roundups.”

On Friday, Sept. 17, Trump took back his infamous stance on the birthplace of President Obama, but only slightly as he now blames Hillary Clinton for starting the conspiracy back in her 2008 campaign for president. In a press conference on “birtherism,” Trump said that “Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy. I finished it.” How Trump expects anyone to believe something so obviously false is anyone’s guess, but it does give him more media coverage and that has been Trump’s main play of strength.

Obama gave a speech at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation on Friday, Sept. 17, where he urged the caucus to get people to vote against Trump. Obama said jokingly that he was “so relieved that the whole birther thing is over,” referencing Trump’s claims. Obama said that not voting for Hillary would be a “personal insult” to his legacy, and that on one ballot is hope, and on the other is fear. Later, referencing Trump’s previous appeal to black voters, when Trump claimed African-Americans “have nothing left to lose” by voting for him, Obama said “well, we do have challenges, but we’re not stupid.”

Back in 2015, Trump thought that the Cuban deal to open diplomatic and trade relations was “fine,” but that the U.S. has made a weak deal. Recently in Miami, Trump has gone further to say that if elected president he will reverse the deal unless Cuba agrees to enact “religious and political freedom for the Cuban people and the freeing of political prisoners.” Trump has a slight lead over Clinton in Florida and, according to Politico, his harsher stance on Cuban relations could give him the nudge he needs to win the state. 

In the national polls, Clinton is barely ahead with a 0.9 percent lead above Trump, according to RealClearPolitics.com. In the electoral race, Clinton has a slight lead in the swing states with eight states in her favor and six states in favor of Trump. According to FiveThirtyEight.com, a data-driven prediction site, Clinton has 292.2 electoral votes, Trump has 245.4 votes and Johnson has .4 votes. 270 electoral votes are needed to win the presidency.

The Commission on Presidential Debates has determined both independent parties did not meet their requirements in order to appear on the first debate on Sept. 26. The requirements were that the candidates must have at least 15 percent in five selected national polls and that they must be present in enough states to be able to mathematically win the election. Both parties met the electoral requirement, but neither reached high enough in the polls, with Johnson at 8.4 percent and Stein at 3.2. Stein said that she will go to the debates anyway and asks her supporters to help force her way onto the stage—a civil disobedience act that she says might lead to an arrest. Johnson said that he was not surprised at the result, but hopes to be able to participate in the October debates.

Christian Vasquez may be reached at [email protected]

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