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The Trump Foundation Admits to Using Money to Help Trump Himself

The Trump Foundation has admitted to violating a ban on self-dealing, which is a prohibition against using charitable funds to benefit the leaders of the organization (aka President-Elect Trump) or their family members.

In the Trump Foundation’s latest report to the IRS, the charity indicated that it transferred income or assets to someone it wasn’t allowed to, such as Trump or a person or an organization close to him, Politico reports. The foundation indicated that it engaged in self-dealing in previous years, too.

According to The Washington Post, these sort of violations can result in penalties, including the apt punishment that the charity leaders would have to pay back the money they used.

But the report doesn’t include any specifics on what self-dealing the foundation actually did, or whether they were required to pay any penalties.

In addition, the Post has reported that the New York attorney general’s office is investigating the Trump Foundation. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said he is investigating “to make sure [the foundation is] complying with the laws governing charities in New York.”

The Post revealed several instances where Trump seemed to have used the Trump Foundation’s money to benefit himself—adding up to as much as $300,000. The foundation paid legal settlements for Trump’s companies, paid for art that the Trumps purchased at auctions, and took a donation that was allegedly payment for Trump to speak at a Ukrainian businessman’s conference in Sept. 2015—when he was already a presidential candidate.

Former head of the IRS nonprofit division, Marc S. Owens, said that this last gift was a rare contribution to the Trump Foundation from foreign donors. “The contribution points out a potential way for foreign donors to align themselves with [Trump],” Owens told the Post, meaning that foreign leaders can curry favor with our new president-elect by contributing to his businesses and “charity.”

So far, Trump hasn’t said anything about how he’ll run the foundation when he takes office, or how he plans to avoid conflicts of interest involving Trump Foundation donors.

Emily has also authored political articles for Restless Magazine and numerous inspirational and empowering pieces for Project Wednesday. When she isn't writing, she can be found flying off to her next adventure, attempting new recipes, listening to one of her infinite playlists on Spotify, or cuddling with her dogs. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter @emilycveith.