Extensive reporting by the Washington Post's David Farenthold shows how Donald Trump used the Trump foundation to take credit for donations using other people's money. In Farenthold's first example, a New Jersey charity gave $150,000 to the Trump foundation. The Trump foundation then contributed $150,000 to the Palm Beach Police Foundation without adding any of Trump's own money. The police foundation rented a room at Trump's Mar-a-Lago Club for a gala to give Trump an award for his philanthropy; the bill for the facilities rental was $276,463 according to police foundation tax records.
Farenthold also found that on at least two occasions Trump spent foundation money on gifts for himself, including $20,000 on a 6-foot high portrait of himself. Foundation funds have also been used for political purposes, which is illegal.
Yesterday's NY Daily News reported that Trump's repeated claims that he obtained 9/11 recovery program funds as reimbursement for charitable work are almost certainly false. The program's purpose was to help local businesses resume routine operations. The News reported:
Records from the Empire State Development Corp., which administered the recovery program, show that Trump’s company asked for those funds for "rent loss," "cleanup" and "repair" — not to recuperate money lost in helping people.
Despite questions about its longterm viability, Twitter has served as a forum for some of the more incisive political discussions of the 2016 campaigns. Currently trending is a conversation among a diverse group of political commentators questioning NY Times coverage of the presidential campaign. A leading voice is Norm Ornstein, resident scholar at the conservative think tank American Enterprise Institute. Joining Ornstein in taking the Times to task for its sloppy news coverage are leading election law scholar Rick Hasen, as well as journalists James Fallows, Eric Boehlert, and Talking Points Memo editor and publisher Josh Marshall, among others.
The main thrust of the group's criticism has been what Marshall calls "parodic coverage" of the Clintons by by the news division of the NY Times — which, "though only as a leading example for the rest of the national press, has a decades' long history of being lead around by rightwing opposition researchers into dead ends which amount to journalistic comedy...," while Trump's history of criminal ties, business and political corruption, misuse of a nonprofit entity, and the "Trump University" scam have been mostly ignored.
Echoing Talking Point Memo's Josh Marshall, investigative reporter and Pulitzer Prize winner Kurt Eichenwald, who now writes for Newsweek, in his May 27 piece labels the hub-bub over Clinton's emails a "nothing burger."
The recent report released by the inspector general of the State Department shows that, on the topics it analyzes, there is no Clinton email scandal.
I've had my quibbles with Politico but a recent report by Pulitzer-winning investigative journalist David Cay Johnston should be required reading for every voter. Johnston quotes presidential historian Douglas Brinkley comparing Trump's candidacy to Warren G. Harding. The Teapot Dome scandal in the 1920s during the Harding administration resulted in a cabinet official going to prison, and is regarded as a paradigm of government corruption.
Trump's mob associations began shortly after he graduated from Wharton in 1968, when he approached Roy Cohn (of McCarthy Hearing infamy) to be his lawyer. At the time Cohn's clients included noted mob figures "Fat Tony" Salerno, boss of the Genovese crime family, and Paul Castellano, head of the Gambino family. According to investigative journalist Wayne Barrett, Trump reportedly met Salerno at Cohn's townhouse. A federal indictment of Salerno later concluded that Trump paid inflated prices to a firm Salerno and Castellano owned through front corporations, for ready-mix concrete used in building Trump Tower.
As the LA Times noted in it's recent article titled Trump's Iowa loss reveals campaign vulnerabilities,
Trump's second-place finish in Iowa exposed an array of weaknesses in his campaign: His flashiness has started to grate on supporters.... He's proved vulnerable to attacks on his ideological purity. And he failed to put together an effective ground operation.... In the end, the celebrity candidate was more susceptible to the normal rules of politics than many expected.
In an op-ed piece for the LA Times that is sharply critical of the punditocracy, Democratic political consultant Joe Trippi writes:
In a year in which every other supposed front-runner and establishment candidate has collapsed to single digits or has already withdrawn from the race — yes, I am talking about you, Jeb Bush, and you, Scott Walker — Hillary Rodham Clinton continues to lead the Democratic field with more than 40% of the vote.