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Death & Taxes
How Trump Plays the Greed Card
"It's very possible that I could be the first presidential candidate to run and make money on it." ~ Donald Trump (2000)
Self-Financing My Ass
Donald J. Trump "Self-Financing" His Campaign
In the beginning of Donald Trump's campaign for President he claimed he was paying for everything. He said he was the one candidate who could not be bought. He doesn't say that much anymore. That's probably because he isn't. For some time now he's been raising money from individuals and super PACS to support his crusade. The question is, what exactly has he spent that money on? Where are the contributions going? Well, the one thing his "self-funded" campaign spends money on - more than anything else or anyone else - are Trump's hats. Trump's campaign is "self-funding" him. For reals.
Self-Funding Means Funding Yourself
New campaign finance filings show that Trump is shifting plenty of money back to himself and family members in the process of running for POTUS. According to documents submitted to the Federal Election Commission, Mr. Trump paid at least $1.1 million to his businesses and family members in May alone for "expenses associated with events and travel costs." Huffington Post reports that in August he funneled $500,000 to himself. Is that the sort of thing he wouldn't want us to see in his tax returns? Does he call his children dependents? Does he claim head of household? What is so damning that we can't see them?
I'll Show You Mine if You Show Me Yours
Donald Says "Nyet" To Showing His Tax ReturnsThe Trumpster is our first Presidential candidate to refuse to release his tax returns in over 40 years. As more voters are starting to pay attention, and as November approaches, will this nondisclosure behavior be the death of the now infamous campaign? So far, Trump has refused to release his tax returns through a series of complaints and excuses. He's had a wide array of responses on the subject from "I will really gladly give them" to "None of your business" to assuring voters that they had "nothing to learn" from his tax forms. He has said he "would show his taxes when Hillary shows her emails" as if somehow one had anything to do with the other. He has also said he would "show his tax returns when Obama shows his birth certificate." Trump even proclaimed that he is "more than happy to dodge taxes" because he "doesn't want to throw his money down the drain." What a leader. What a spokesman for American Democracy. We say we should follow suit. Let's all not pay any taxes, shall we? See how that goes.
So you see, Trump really has gone to long lengths to avoid showing his tax returns during this election cycle. He grasps at anything near him to divert and change the subject, dog whistling "state's rights" to his more fervent supporters, and throwing in words like "emails" and "Benghazi." When the GOP nominee announced earlier this year - in no uncertain terms - that gaining any info on his tax returns was "none of your business," most patriotic Americans were shocked. Seriously, the GOP nominee for President of the United States who is running with only one credential to his name - "financial success" - refuses to let voting Americans see the only legal records of that success.
As the Presidential debates draw closer, will anything be the 'final straw' that breaks his spirit? Will publicizing the tax return issue slow him up or take him down a few notches in the polls? Is it possible that simply bringing the conversation to the forefront might have an impact on the event they call the running of
~ ~ Donald J. Trump ~ ~
While it's going to take us a minute to fully research and post the facts here, we can tell you that DJ Trump himself has offered some insight into his taxalicious details, warbling such amazing hits as "I pay as little as possible in taxes" and telling interviewers that he "fights like hell to pay as little tax as possible because (he) hates what our country does with the taxes." And although we don't have any new tax returns to review, there is some information floating out there from the last time Donald did make his returns available to the public, several years ago, and we're combing through that now. Until we have something concrete to report, we think this lady has a pretty good grasp of the issue.
What We've Found So Far
An Extreme Vetting of DJ Trump's Finances
His Tax Plan Sucks
Trump says his plan helps the little guy, but when you break it down, it doesn't seem to help the little guy. According to CNN Money, the estate tax repeal is a gift to him and his friends, and the business tax breaks that he would like to implement would mostly benefit him directly.
He's Being Sued by A Lot of People
Trump University Was a Massive Scam
In October 2004, entrepreneur Michael Sexton contacted Trump to create a company to provide instructional curriculum to small business owners and entrepreneurs under the Trump brand. Potential students took a free seminar, after which teachers reportedly recommended they sign up for a 3-day seminar for $1,500. A 41-page internal document from Trump University spells it all out: "Keep the room below 69 degrees, set up the chairs so that attendees need to walk past sales tables in order to exit, and be sure "For the Love of Money" by the O'Jays is playing in the background." Education at its finest.
Court documents say those students were then encouraged to enroll in Trump Elite Programs, which included year-long mentorships starting at $20,000 each. In 2011, NY State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman launched an investigation into the program, and in 2013 - after the University had ceased operations - filed a lawsuit against "Trump Entrepreneur Initiative LLC" and Trump himself. The lawsuit accuses the school of "engaging in specific, fraudulent, deceptive and illegal acts." In March of 2016, an appellate court ruled that claims dating back to May of 2007 can go to trial. Trump's been spending a lot of energy and money trying to make sure that that happens AFTER election day, believe me. There are 5,000 people nationwide who have claims against the company. The lawsuit is seeking $40 million in damages. In court papers, Trump called the lawsuit's claims "patently false" and told Good Morning America, "It's not a big deal and I will win it in court." 5,000 people suing you in just one case does seem like a big thing to us. Apparently not as big as using a private e-mail server.
Donald's Trailing Soda Cans of Trouble Behind His Clown Car
Analysis of legal filings across the United States finds that the presumptive Republican presidential nominee and his businesses have been involved in at least 4,000 legal actions in federal and state courts during the past three decades. The University case is just one of those 4,000. These cases making their way through the courts - or already resolved - range from skirmishes with casino patrons to million-dollar real estate suits to personal defamation lawsuits and include more than 160 Federal lawsuits with hundreds alleging he doesn't pay his bills.
Resistance is Futile
Private Property for the Taking
Trump's repeated manipulation of Eminent Domain law is easily researchable, and it usually works for him. There is one notable exception we were happy to find in the case of Vera Coking, an elderly widow from Atlantic City, who knows firsthand the sorrow of unaccountable government agencies and the power of those who contort their intended use. In her case, Trump wanted the widow's property for a limousine parking lot he had in mind outside his casino - and offered her a deal for her land. When she refused, he sought to get her property condemned, and then have it transferred over to him — at a bargain-basement price. Thankfully, the Institute for Justice successfully defended Vera against the condemnation of her home. In an attempt to rewrite history, Trump claimed as recently as February's New Hampshire Presidential debate that he just walked away when she said 'no.' The truth is, he only walked away because he was forced to. A google search for the words 'Trump' and 'eminent domain' will get you article after article of his manipulation of that system. As Trump will tell you, "No one knows how to use the system better than me."
His Deductions Should Be Fraudulent
Another reason he may not want to show us his tax returns at all is that we might question what he has been calling 'charitable donations.' Trump's easy use of easements has made the man a lot of money as he leaves trees alone on his golf courses and calls that a "charitable donation" to the state. Here’s how the tax break works. Say you're willing to give up development rights on land, or agree to preserve a certified historic structure. Then you get an appraiser to evaluate how much the easement has reduced the market value of your property, and you claim a charitable deduction for that amount. Yes, a "charitable donation."
One of the most controversial uses of conservation easements - one the Obama Treasury Department wants to ban - is indeed for golf courses. In 2014 Trump donated an easement on 11.5 acres of his Trump National Golf Club in Los Angeles. Since we can't see his tax returns, we don’t know how much of a deduction he got on that one, but we do know he valued a 2004 and 2005 6.4-acre easement on the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J. at a total of $39 million. $39 million dollars for keeping 6 acres the way they were when he got there. It's almost like Trump said, "That's an awful nice forest ya got there. It would be a shame if something happened to it."
Negotiating with the Enemy
As Trump himself will tell you, he controls properties all over the world. Under the “Our Hotels” section of Trump Hotel Collection website, he lists six international hotels. There are Trump hotels in Panama, Rio de Janeiro, Toronto, Ireland, Vancouver, Baku, and even Azerbaijan. On the website for the Trump Real Estate Collection nine international properties are listed - including two Trump Towers in India, one in Istanbul, another in Uruguay, one in the Philippines, as well as a Trump World in South Korea, among others. Never before has an American candidate for president had so many financial ties with both American allies and those often referred to as America's enemies. Trump’s global deals - as they stand now - make it impossible for him to conduct foreign policy in many countries without padding or depleting his wallet and he shows no signs at all of making arrangements to detach himself from all that debt and "investment."
If Donald Trump is elected president, will he and his family permanently sever all connections to the Trump Organization, a sprawling business empire that has spread a secretive financial web across the world? Unlikely. Will Trump instead choose to be the most conflicted president in American history, one whose business interests will constantly jeopardize the security of the United States? Throughout this campaign, the Trump Organization and its structural integrity has been largely ignored. As a private enterprise, its businesses, partners and investors are hidden from public view, even though they are the very people who could be enriched by—or will further enrich—Trump and his family if he wins the presidency. From Mumbai to Saudi Arabia, Libya to the Ukraine, Trump's holdings are the stuff of major conflict of interest stories, and really should be investigated as such.
The Most Globalist Nationalist to Date
Trump talks a big game about businesses going overseas, but all of his apparel and home furnishing lines are manufactured outside the country. Trump growls about American companies moving out of the country, but doesn’t really identify all of the missing tax dollars that are squirreled off-shore as part of the problem. Of course that could be because Trump’s financial filings also indicate he is a shareholder or beneficiary of several overseas entities, including Excel Venture LLC (in the French West Indies) and Caribusiness Investments SRL (based in the Dominican Republic) one of the world’s more popular vacation destinations and tax havens. So passing any kind of regulatory legislation regarding off-shore bank accounts is highly unlikely, and although he says he’s going to be “greedy for America” there is no evidence that he is planning to divest himself of his ownership in these questionable banking institutions.
Newsweek’s examination of the company found deep connections in China, Brazil, Bulgaria, Argentina, Canada, France, Germany, and other countries. A trip around the world finds nary a land where Trump has not somehow spent some money, borrowed some money, gotten into business with people who are later convicted of fraud, or started a twitter war with the current leaders. It’s really remarkable.
His Investments Actually Pose a Threat to National Security
Conflicting Interests in South Korea
Earlier this year, Donald said South Korea should develop its own nuclear weapons. One of the primary South Korean companies involved in nuclear energy, a key component in weapons development, is Trump’s partner—Daewoo Engineering and Construction. When the United States adopts policies advocated by Trump, Daewoo and Trump himself would get an economic windfall similar to Cheney’s Halliburton empire’s general profiteering in Iraq. The South Korean chairman Trump originally signed an $8 million per year contract with, was busted for embezzlement and convicted to 10 years. The Daewoo Group, collapsed into bankruptcy amid allegations of what proved to be a $43 billion accounting fraud. Daewoo went through a subsequent restructuring and Trump is still with the company. So as of now, any moves in South Korea could not be purely patriotic in nature. Every Stratego game piece in this Commander-in-Chief’s playing set has a big “T” emblazoned on it, and can also collect rent every time you pass go.
From his factories in China to Trump hotels in India
the Trump family has a financial stake - one way or another - in most of the countries in this map
Conflicting Interests in India
Trump has an Indian project underway in the city of Pune with a large developer called Panchshil Realty. According to an amazing piece that just came out from Newsweek reporting on a wide expanse of Trump dealings, last month the state government and local police in India started looking into discrepancies in the land records suggesting that the land on which the building was constructed may not have been legally obtained by Panchshil. Nonetheless, the Trump Organization has recently declared it’s planning a massive expansion in the South Asian country. “We are very bullish on India and plan to build a Pan -India development footprint for Trump-branded residential and office projects,’’ Donald Trump Jr. told the Hindustan Times last month. “We have a very aggressive pipeline in the north and east, and look forward to the announcement of several exciting new projects in the months ahead.”
As Newsweek puts it, “That is a chilling example of the many looming conflicts of interest in a Trump presidency. If he plays tough with India, will the government assume it has to clear the way for projects in that “aggressive pipeline” and kill the investigations involving Trump’s Pune partners? And if Trump takes a hard line with Pakistan, will it be for America’s strategic interests or to appease Indian government officials who might jeopardize his profits from Trump Towers Pune?”
But Some Muslims are Good Ones
Trump already has financial conflicts in much of the Islamic world, a problem made worse by his anti-Muslim rhetoric. In 2008, the Trump Organization struck a branding deal with the Dogan Group with the politically influential Dogan agreeing to pay a fee to put the Trump name on two towers in Istanbul. In a sign of the political clout of the Dogan family, Turkish President Erdogan met with Trump and even presided over the opening ceremonies for the Trump-branded property. Unfortunately, in March of this year, an Istanbul court accepted an indictment of Aydin Dogan, chairman of the Dogan Group, on charges he engaged in a fuel smuggling operation. Erdogan has since publicly mentioned his regret for having attended the Trump opening. Remember, the United States is using Turkey’s air base to attack ISIS from when they send planes over Syria. That took years to accomplish; we need Erdogan to continue to cooperate, and he has made it clear he is no longer a fan of Trump. If Donald were to become President, would not that jeopardize our very valuable military base access in Turkey?
Conflicting Interests in Iran
An official report on Iran from the State Department has described Iranian government inner workings as being infused with “corruption and predatory behavior by politically connected elites.” In Iran, Trump oversees questionable investment funds. According to Trump’s financial filings, the Republican nominee is the president of two Iranian entities - OT Marks Baku LLC and DT Marks Baku Manaaina Member Corp - established as part of deals the Trump Organization made last year for a real estate project in the country’s capital. The partner in the deal is Garant Holding, which is controlled by Anar Mammadov, the son Ziya Mammadov, the country’s transportation minister who reportedly laundered money for the Iranian military. So even if he removes his hands from Iranian dealings, it may be hard to get the spots off.
Trump's Trip Around the World for America
The above is just a small sampling of the self-interest conflicts Donald J. Trump would have in signing any treaty, negotiating any trade deal, or sanctioning any enemy while in the Oval Office. He has tried to suggest he would start a "blind trust" with those investments, but that makes no sense. The Trump blind trust would still control Trump interests and so those interests would still exist and still be in conflict with the job of running America First. Trump has suggested his children would run his interests, and so there would be no conflict of interest anymore. But even a blind man can see that his children running these same interests would not eliminate any conflicting concerns that would factor in to Presidential decisions when dealing with these countries and their leaders. The Trump brand would still exist, contracts would still need to be honored, and so legislation would still be slanted toward giving the Trump brand the biggest bang for their buck, every time.
Greed Is Good
Playing The Greed Card
At a rally in Iowa late last year Trump said, “Now, I’ll tell you, I’m good at that – so, you know, I’ve always taken in money. I like money. I’m very greedy. I’m a greedy person. I shouldn’t tell you that, I’m a greedy – I’ve always been greedy. I love money, right? But, you know what? I want to be greedy for our country. I want to be greedy. I want to be so greedy for our country. I want to take back money." In Las Vegas, Nevada earlier this year he told us again, "It's hard for me to turn down money because that's what I've done in my whole life; I grab and grab and grab. You know I get greedy. I want money, money. Now we're going to get greedy for the United States — we're going to grab and grab and grab."
As late great Maya Angelou once said, "When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”
More To Come...(To help us with our research, you can send any articles or links to [email protected])