President Donald Trump has long boasted of his philanthropy, but the overwhelming bulk of his charitable tax deductions have come from agreeing not to develop land, in some instances after he had given up on plans to do so, according to a New York Times analysis of his tax returns, and he reportedly has reneged on several pledges to donate to charity and sped up his giving after launching his presidential campaign.
Trump has reported $130 million in charitable giving on his tax returns since 2005, but $119.3 million came from easements he signed with conservation groups in which he agreed not to develop three plots of land, the Times reported, two of which he had plans for that had been stymied, as well as from a donation of land he had failed to develop to New York State for a park.
Trump’s campaign claimed the day he launched his campaign in 2015 that he had given $102 million to charity in the previous five years, but he only reported $735,238 in cash donations and $26.8 million in land and non-cash gifts during that period, according to tax records obtained by the Times.
“It is possible that he chose not to report some of his giving,” the Times noted, with Trump Organization spokesperson Amanda Miller telling them it’s “impossible to know” how much Trump has donated to charity because he “gives money privately.”
Trump’s largest cash donation, according to the Times: $400,000 he received for his 2011 Comedy Central roast that he gave to his own Trump Foundation, which shuttered in 2018 amid allegations from New York State’s attorney general that he used it to illegally benefit his business and political interests.
Trump reportedly backed out of pledges to give away $150,000 paid to him by Libyan dictator Muammar el-Qaddafi for lodging in 2011 and $4.5 million from book sales in 2015 and 2016, reporting just $22,796 and $1.3 million during those periods respectively in personal and business cash donations (though the Times noted the tax information they obtained “lists only certain corporate donations.”)
Roughly 40% of the $7.5 million Trump reportedly gave in personal and business cash gifts since 2005 came following his campaign launch in 2015, with his $1.9 million in contributions in 2017 far outweighing his $81,499 in 2014.
“I think that number one, I am a nice person. I give a lot of money away to charities and other things. I think I’m actually a very nice person,” Trump claimed when launching his campaign in 2015. He said during a Morning Joe interview in 2016, “I gave a lot of money to charity. I could release a list. I don’t talk about my tax rate because I’m under audit but when the audit’s finished I’ll give you my tax returns.”
60%. That’s the share of likely voters in a Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday who said Trump does not have a sense of decency, with 37% saying he does. Those numbers were flipped for Democratic candidate Joe Biden, with 64% saying he does have a sense of decency and 30% saying he does not. Biden leads Trump in the poll by 10 points, 51% to 41%.
What To Watch For
Trump is being investigated by New York Attorney General Letitia James for allegedly overvaluing his assets to his lenders and on his tax returns. A filing from that case alleges Trump demanded that his tax lawyer appraise one of his properties – which he donated in 2015 for a $21.1 million tax break after failing to turn it into a golf course – and inflate its value, the Times reported. Miller told the Times Trump “was not involved” in the appraisals.
Source: Forbes – Business