While the Clinton Foundation has received a lot of media attention this election cycle, the Trump Foundation has generally flown under the radar in 2016 — even though it was once caught illegally donating to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi for what appeared to be a personal favor for Trump.
The Late Show host Stephen Colbert took a close look at the Trump Foundation on Thursday night. He noted that it’s undeniable the Clinton Foundation “has done real charity work — earthquake relief in Haiti, expanded access to HIV drugs in Africa, and, one assumes, working on a cure for secret pneumonia.” (The last one is a joke.)
The Trump Foundation, on the other hand, has done some very questionable things. Colbert ran through just a few of them, based on reporting from David Fahrenthold over at the Washington Post, one of the few journalists who’s been on this story:
- The Trump Foundation made an illegal donation to Florida’s attorney general when she was considering investigating Trump University for fraud.
- Trump received a trophy from the Palm Beach Police Foundation for his foundation’s financial support — but it turns out the $150,000 Trump gave to the organization came from a New Jersey charity that donated to the Trump Foundation. “That $150,000 couldn’t be more of a regift if it was an iTunes gift card,” Colbert quipped. Even then, Trump may have made money from the whole affair, because the Palm Beach Police Foundation rented out the Trump-owned Mar-a-Lago resort for its annual gala.
- The Trump Foundation used $12,000 to buy a football helmet autographed by Tim Tebow.
- The foundation also used $20,000 to buy a 6-foot painting of … Trump.
In comparison, the media’s digging into the Clinton Foundation hasn’t really found much to be outraged about.
As Matt Yglesias wrote for Vox, “The bar for ‘Clinton Foundation scandal’ is so low that a staffer for the Clinton Foundation trying and failing to get a diplomatic passport so that he could help Bill Clinton rescue Americans being held captive in North Korea was played up as a major revelation in the New York Times. Imagine if the Clinton Foundation was flagrantly breaking campaign finance law, making phantom donations to charities that never saw the money, blowing cash on sports memorabilia, and persecuting Hillary Clinton’s political enemies.”
Yet the Trump Foundation has generally slid under the radar, leaving it to a comedian to give it much attention in the mainstream.