Foundations vulnerable to abuse



December 18, 2019 - 10:41 AM

When looking back on 2019, most people probably won’t list the criminal saga surrounding the Donald J. Trump Foundation among the year’s biggest news. But this saga could prompt legislative changes affecting the future of the tens of thousands of other private foundations in the United States.

The Trump Foundation, which has agreed to dissolve, was accused of a broad pattern of illegal activity, including “repeated and willful self-dealing transactions.” President Donald Trump, himself, has been ordered to pay $2 million in damages to settle claims related to the misuse of funds. That money will be distributed to a group of reputable charities. In essence, they’ll become a means for the Trump Foundation to right some of its wrongs.

The wrongs were not insignificant, including numerous expenditures garnering personal benefit to Trump and his family members, solicitation of funds in New York without proper registration and grants used for political purposes, to name a few. But the saga is bigger than Trump. And the issue is much larger than the Trump Foundation, which is just one of almost 100,000 private foundations in the country, according to 2015 IRS statistics.

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