WASHINGTON — President-elect Donald Trump's charitable foundation transferred assets to a disqualified person, possibly Trump himself, according to tax filings obtained by the nonprofit watchdog group Guidestar and posted online Tuesday.
Trump has been under heavy scrutiny in recent months for using tax-exempt foundation money to pay for personal expenses, such as legal settlements with governments and personal expenses, including paintings of himself.
Trump transition spokesmen did not respond to questions Tuesday from USA TODAY.
On page 5 of the foundation's 2015 tax filing, the foundation checked the "yes" box to the question about whether the group transferred "any income or assets to a disqualified person (or make any of either available for the benefit or use of a disqualified person."
The foundation checked yes again in another box that asked if it had transferred money to disqualified people in previous years. Trump signed past filings under penalty of perjury. The correction in the latest filing may represent a problem on that issue.
According to Guidestar official Jackie Fekeci, the tax form was "was uploaded by a representative from Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP directly onto the foundation’s GuideStar Nonprofit Profile on November 18. We allow organizations to submit their 990's voluntarily because sometimes the form's route through the IRS causes a delay before we get the officially filed version. We do that in the good faith that the version they upload onto GuideStar is identical to the version they submit to the IRS."
There is no record yet of whether the filing was sent to the IRS.
The Washington Post has reported in great detail about problems with the Trump foundation and its spending, citing how it paid $258,000 in foundation money to settle Trump's personal legal issues.
The 2015 tax filing showed that Trump's company donated $566,370 to the foundation last year, while it received another $50,000 from Trump Productions LLC.
It's possible these contributions came from Trump, because they listed the donations as coming from a “person.” These contributions are the first that Trump or his companies have made to Trump’s own charity since 2008. His foundation’s tax return for 2008 showed a $30,000 contribution from Donald J. Trump, care of The Trump Organization.
The foundation also received $150,000 from the British office of a foundation run by Ukrainian billionaire Victor Pinchuk, who owns four Ukrainian television stations and a variety of industrial companies.
Contributing: David Jackson and Kevin McCoy