Author Topic: In any other administration...  (Read 10060 times)

Seriati

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Re: In any other administration...
« Reply #50 on: November 13, 2019, 03:46:53 PM »
In one case, from 2007, Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club faced $120,000 in unpaid fines from the town of Palm Beach, Fla., resulting from a dispute over the height of a flagpole.

In a settlement, Palm Beach agreed to waive those fines — if Trump’s club made a $100,000 donation to a specific charity for veterans.

Find the settlement, my understanding taken from the NY AG's recitation of facts (see paragraph 8) is that Trump (not the club) agreed to donate $100k.  I already acknowledged he used the foundation for donations, and clearly thought any donation he had to make could be made through the Foundation.  He reimbursed it a decade later as part of the clean up of things that were questionable (or in this case, probably wrong).  It would not have been much of an issue if he had reimbursed it promptly.

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In another case, court papers say one of Trump’s golf courses in New York agreed to settle a lawsuit by making a donation to the plaintiff’s chosen charity. A $158,000 donation was made by the Trump Foundation, according to tax records.

Kind of a silly one to site, also in the NY AG's description (see paragraphs 9 and 10).  Trump's club hosted a charitable golf event for a third party charity that had a win a million for a hole in one event.  They bought insurance on the risk, and then when a hole in one was hit, the insurance refused to pay out.  The other charity eventually "settled" by giving about $750k to the "winner's" own charity.  So how did this lead to the money you describe above?  The Trump club agreed to "settle" as well (I suspect because there was some dispute about whether the hole was set up properly, though I'd guess the third party charity thought it bore most of the blame on that from its settlement). 

Their settlement?  They'd give 2 life time memberships to the course to the third party charity to sell and the proceeds of the sale of a third.  The 3rd membership was donated to the Foundation and then auctioned off and the proceeds were donated to the third party charity.

So literally, the Club donated all 3 memberships - exactly as agreed - and the third party charity got exactly what it was promised, 2 memberships and the proceeds of a third.  Your complaint is that the Foundation agreed to participate?  It didn't do so for free, it took a reasonable service fee, also agreed.

That one is more of a stretch than the others on the "what was wrong" scale, which literally was only triggered because Trump owned the course.

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So, yeah, if you didn't know the quid pro quo ;) of it, it could just look like a donation from a foundation to a charity. What it really was, was using the charity's funds to make Trump's business problems go away.

Or literally it wasn't.  It was making donations that Trump or his businesses agreed to make through the charity.  It does look like it was the open intention of the parties to make those donations through the charity in each of the  cases.  They were wrong about that being okay, but it wasn't a secret, and it was all stuff that could have been legally managed with a smidge more attention to detail.

In other words, process "crimes".

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It also wasn't even close to entirely his own money.

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Through 2015, Trump contributed $5.5 million to the Trump Foundation, including money from his book, while outside donors contributed an additional $9.3 million.[25][26] His final gift to the foundation was $35,000 in 2008.[4]

Many of the outside donors to the foundation have done business with Trump or the Trump Organization.[27] Several philanthropy experts noted that having a family foundation primarily funded by outside money is unusual.[25][27]

That's half ass better.  Virtually all the "$9.3 million" was "donations" in lieu of speaker or appearance fees.   Heck according to Wikipedia the original funding was from his book sales.  So yeah, you "caught" him, he was spending "3rd party money" that he asked be donated to the foundation rather than paid to him as income. 

One might think that was a good thing, but apparently it's nefarious.   Would have been far better to take "speakers" fees as cash payments to himself ala Bill Clinton.  To characterize money that would have been paid to him as income but that he asked be contributed to charity instead (even if he controlled the disbursement of the charitable funds) seems a really odd hill to defend.

oldbrian

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Re: In any other administration...
« Reply #51 on: November 13, 2019, 03:54:56 PM »
Seriati, I got it from your own link!

page 5:
"The terms of the settlement aggreement provided that Mr. Trump [as the owner of Mar-A-Lago, the party in the lawsuit] would contribute $100,000 to charities... In September 2007 Mr. Trump caused the foundation to donate $100,000 to the Fisher House Foundation... On March 10, 2017 Mr. Trump reimbursed the Foundation $100,000 plus interest of $8763.41...

So yes, he did indeed use the foundation money for his business debts.

Now, like I said, I'm not a lawyer.  So you can claim that I am not understanding the byzantine rules surrounding high-level business and family foundations and I will not argue about it. 
But when you claim to have read the paper which you yourself put up a link to, and it is full of nothing BUT Trump being dinged for using Foundation money to pay his business debts, then later (much, much later.  Like after the lawsuit or investigation that the paper was about got started, later) paying it back from his personal accounts; and yet you accuse me of inventing things out of whole cloth ...

Well, it makes me look back at all of those other times you read the legal paperwork and assured everyone here that your opponent was clearly in the wrong or making things up and wonder about your personal biases.

Seriati

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Re: In any other administration...
« Reply #52 on: November 13, 2019, 04:03:00 PM »
page 5:
"The terms of the settlement aggreement provided that Mr. Trump [as the owner of Mar-A-Lago, the party in the lawsuit] would contribute $100,000 to charities... In September 2007 Mr. Trump caused the foundation to donate $100,000 to the Fisher House Foundation... On March 10, 2017 Mr. Trump reimbursed the Foundation $100,000 plus interest of $8763.41...

So yes, he did indeed use the foundation money for his business debts.

Not a business debt, he agreed as a personal matter.  No question he believed that the Foundation was his alternate ego for charitable causes.  Again, as I said, this one was a violation, but the scale of the violation is pretty immaterial and largely just a matter of process.

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But when you claim to have read the paper which you yourself put up a link to, and it is full of nothing BUT Trump being dinged for using Foundation money to pay his business debts, then later (much, much later.  Like after the lawsuit or investigation that the paper was about got started, later) paying it back from his personal accounts; and yet you accuse me of inventing things out of whole cloth ...

The "paper" is the settlement agreement.  It's a recitation of facts that the NY AG insisted on and the Trump parties were willing to allow.  There's no question the Foundation was mismanaged.  There's also no question the scope of the problems is blown out of proportion.

This thread however, is a gross expansion into nonsense that appears no where in the facts or the record.  Most of which is flat out false, like the original claim that Trump stole the money, or the revised claim that Trump "admitted" to something he didn't.

It really shouldn't take this much effort to debunk fake news.

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Well, it makes me look back at all of those other times you read the legal paperwork and assured everyone here that your opponent was clearly in the wrong or making things up and wonder about your personal biases.

Maybe re-read what I wrote again.  Go right ahead, try and pull out your own bias.  Find anything I said that is false.

The fact that I have opinions is not a secret. 

The idea that this would have been prosecuted to this extent for any person not name Trump is false.

TheDrake

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Re: In any other administration...
« Reply #53 on: November 13, 2019, 05:20:39 PM »
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The "paper" is the settlement agreement.  It's a recitation of facts that the NY AG insisted on and the Trump parties were willing to allow.

IF it is in your settlement agreement, you have indeed admitted to those things. I don't know why you are thinking that is not true. Are you saying that Trump had his fingers crossed and he was actually lying so that doesn't count? Or are you thinking that he has to call a press conference in order to admit to something?

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So literally, the Club donated all 3 memberships - exactly as agreed - and the third party charity got exactly what it was promised, 2 memberships and the proceeds of a third.  Your complaint is that the Foundation agreed to participate?  It didn't do so for free, it took a reasonable service fee, also agreed.

The foundation didn't get the fee. The fee was deducted to pay the auction site. The whole process was to create a shell. If the golf course had auctioned off the membership, that would be income for the course that has to be declared, I presume. By donating the membership and using the charity to run the auction, that gets avoided. I won't say if that is legal tax avoidance or illegal tax evasion, but it is definitely shady. But not theft, that much is absolutely true.

Wayward Son

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Re: In any other administration...
« Reply #54 on: November 13, 2019, 06:19:19 PM »
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Trump's settlement here is on the corporate governance of a charity that was almost completely funded with his own money.

Seriati, what makes you think Trump's charity was almost completely funded by Trump?  ::)

When was the last time Trump donated to his own charity?  Look it up.  You might find it enlightening.

Seriati

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Re: In any other administration...
« Reply #55 on: November 13, 2019, 07:50:16 PM »
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The "paper" is the settlement agreement.  It's a recitation of facts that the NY AG insisted on and the Trump parties were willing to allow.

IF it is in your settlement agreement, you have indeed admitted to those things. I don't know why you are thinking that is not true. Are you saying that Trump had his fingers crossed and he was actually lying so that doesn't count? Or are you thinking that he has to call a press conference in order to admit to something?

No, I think that the settlement agreement itself sets out what it means, as does the affadavit attached thereto that includes the sum total of Trump's personal admissions.  None of which match the claims.

This settlement, like most settlements these days does not include an admission of guilt.  Part 19 lists the Foundations' admissions (all process related).  The final Whereas on page 9-10, says there is no admission of any fact other than those expressly stated in the stipulations.

Take a look at the stipulations:

Paragraph 5-7 are about the Iowa fundraiser.  Pretty much just the facts as I stated them, no "admission" that those facts were wrong or guilt.  And flat out an "admission" that all $5.8 million raised went to the charities in question.  Again, a factual agreement that Trump handed out checks at a campaign event - but not that this was wrong.  Don't believe me?  Take a closer look.

8 - we talked about above for the Flag Pole issue.  And it got an "admission" of the basic facts, Trump agreed to make a $100k charitable donation to settle the hotel's issue, the Foundation made the donation.  Trump paid it back a decade letter, presumably after someone told him it was improper the way it was handled.

9-10 are about the "hold in one" controversy.  Just statements of fact, no admission of fault or guilt.

11-13 was about an apparent mistake in 2013, where a check was cut to a political campaign because the reviewer mistook a non-political charity for the political one and erroneously approved it.  That was caught and corrected in 2016 (ie predating the investigation) and the excise tax of $25k paid by Trump (not the Foundation).

14, the Foundation made a contribution ($5k) that entitled it to an add space, and it let the Hotel use the add (which given the Foundation had no use for it is reasonable, though it should have been recorded and compensated).  The Hotels reimbursed in 2016 (3 years later) with interest and paid the excise tax and self reported it.

15 is the most bizarre one, as it relates to a $10k contribution to another charity to acquire a picture of Mr. Trump, which was then hung in one of his hotels.  Generally, speaking a totally vain but innocuos thing but a violation because of the Foundation's involvement.  Again though, no admission of guilt.  The Hotel ended up paying rental value and the excise tax and of the Trump's reimbursed the $10k.

16. Was a different Trump entities pledge for charity that was paid from the Foundation.  Seeing the common thread?  The Trump's erroneously believed that the Foundation could be used to make charitable contributions on behalf of the Trump family and entities.  Again, totally common in the high end foundation world.  This transaction was also reimbursed and self reported.

And you get to what was further agreed, other than that no facts other than those listed were agreed.  You get agreement that the NY AG raised "significant issues" with respect to governance and certain transactions (section 7 of the agreements they made).  Again, not an admission of guilt.  Or you could expressly look at 8 - "not an admission of liability" on the part of the Trumps or the Foundation.

And what did Trump personally agree to?  It's in Exhibit C, in exchange for taking a Fiduciary class he and his children were dismissed from the claim with prejudice (ie they can't be further moved against).  And their admission?  Paragraph 3, the NY AG raised "important concerns" with respect to governance and certain transactions.  That's even lower than what the Foundation agreed to.

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The foundation didn't get the fee.  The fee was deducted to pay the auction site.

You are correct the fee went to the auctioneer.  I misread that the first time.

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The whole process was to create a shell. If the golf course had auctioned off the membership, that would be income for the course that has to be declared, I presume. By donating the membership and using the charity to run the auction, that gets avoided. I won't say if that is legal tax avoidance or illegal tax evasion, but it is definitely shady. But not theft, that much is absolutely true.

My understanding is that settlement payments are already generally deductible.  Maybe there's more to it somewhere, cause my first thought was the same, but I'm not even sure that this actually was a "settlement" per se, as it appeared that the obligation was to make a charitable donation (which is exactly what they did).  Given that we're ultimately talking about a dispute between two other charities, that's not a shock.

What's shady to you again?

TheDrake

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Re: In any other administration...
« Reply #56 on: November 14, 2019, 03:50:32 AM »
Simple answer to your smokescreen. Why was trumps foundation involved in any way when the golf course and the other parties could have settled everything without it?

Seriati

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Re: In any other administration...
« Reply #57 on: November 14, 2019, 09:53:20 AM »
Because Trump made many of his charitable donations through the Foundation.  Pretty common for the super wealthy.

TheDrake

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Re: In any other administration...
« Reply #58 on: November 14, 2019, 10:31:01 AM »
Except that there was no part of that as a legitimate charitable donation. It wasn't like they thought about their mission, picked a charity that did good things. They bought off a dude that had his own shady charity fund.

rightleft22

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Re: In any other administration...
« Reply #59 on: November 14, 2019, 10:47:17 AM »
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Because Trump made many of his charitable donations through the Foundation.  Pretty common for the super wealthy.

actually made me do a spite take.
Trump doesn't do charity. He doesn't believe in it, he's transnational in everything he does/is.  His charity "giving" has always involved smoke a mirrors. 

Its not like the man is a paradigm of virtue. He is who he is and many like him for being that kind of man. We don't have to pretend. No need to be embarrassed or perform mental/ethical gymnastics to defend this type of behavior. You either find it wrong (regardless who does it) or you do but can't admit it (fear it might make it harder to support your man) or you don't care,  No matter which way we feel its not like anything more is going to come of it.

Fenring

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Re: In any other administration...
« Reply #60 on: November 14, 2019, 11:17:13 AM »
Why is it even legitimate to ask why he would choose to use a charitable fund/account to pay for things, or whether he's "really" being nice or not. He literally ran in the primaries on "the system is broken and I totally abuse it like everyone else does, and the system should be fixed." There is no point questioning the virtue of his methods of spending money; only the legality of it is relevant.

rightleft22

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Re: In any other administration...
« Reply #61 on: November 14, 2019, 11:45:07 AM »
You may be right questioning the virtue is a waste of time outside a debate on ethics.  Ethically the we learning to look away.

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"the system is broken, and I totally abuse it like everyone else does, and the system should be fixed.” 
Ethically I have a huge problem with the above statement and generalization. Many people don’t abuse it like “everyone else” nor is that an excuse not to do better.

I in no way believe the Administration has any desire to fix it. Their actions show that they will push the brokenness to their advantage for as long as the can. Maybe someday the people stand up and say enough at some point and in that way their actions lead to fixing it but I don’t see that happening.

This brings me back to the virtue question: how can you trust a person who will abuse the system bokkeness to their advantage because "everyone does it” to fix it?

ScottF

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Re: In any other administration...
« Reply #62 on: November 14, 2019, 11:48:00 AM »
This brings me back to the virtue question: how can you trust a person who will abuse the system bokkeness to their advantage because "everyone does it” to fix it?

You do realize your question above could be applied to every human to ever file a tax return, right?

Fenring

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Re: In any other administration...
« Reply #63 on: November 14, 2019, 11:51:37 AM »
You may be right questioning the virtue is a waste of time outside a debate on ethics.  Ethically the we learning to look away.

I'm not saying that. I'm saying that in context of a man who already said he abuses the system there's no purpose in asking "why would he use his accounts in a way that advantages him, that ordinary Joe's don't do?" Yes he is going to use every loophole in the book, and yes rich people do that. Whether I like it is immaterial; virtue doesn't enter into it. The system has rules and so long as you play by those rules (i.e. aren't a criminal) then the system is responsible for the results. Garbage in garbage out.

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"the system is broken, and I totally abuse it like everyone else does, and the system should be fixed.” 
Ethically I have a huge problem with the above statement and generalization. Many people don’t abuse it like “everyone else” nor is that an excuse not to do better.

That doesn't matter. Any system that relies on people being 'fair spirited and not taking more than their share' is ridiculous. The rules should absolutely bar any untoward use of accounts, and any use within the rules it just using your money as wisely as possible. You can object to what a person spends their money on, or how they treat their employees, or any number of other things, but in terms of using the mechanical systems available smart people will optimize maximally. If I told you that you could legally file your taxes in a way that would save you thousands a year and be perfectly legal, you wouldn't do it?

TheDrake

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Re: In any other administration...
« Reply #64 on: November 14, 2019, 12:03:21 PM »
This brings me back to the virtue question: how can you trust a person who will abuse the system bokkeness to their advantage because "everyone does it” to fix it?

You do realize your question above could be applied to every human to ever file a tax return, right?

Patently untrue. The vast majority of people file an EZ and pay exactly the proscribed amount.

Meanwhile, yes, lots of people will form a bull*censored* LLC to claim "business" expenses, or try to write off their "home office", or claim more charitable giving than they actually did. They are breaking the law, they are immoral, and they probably shouldn't run for public office and put a magnifying glass on themselves.

Saying "yes rich people do that", don't you wonder if Bill Gates is washing money through his charity to pay his golf membership fees? No? Because it is a legitimate charity trying to actually help people.

I think you'd be surprised how many rich people are not shady operators.

rightleft22

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Re: In any other administration...
« Reply #65 on: November 14, 2019, 12:29:00 PM »
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I'm not saying that. I'm saying that in context of a man who already said he abuses the system there's no purpose in asking "why would he use his accounts in a way that advantages him, that ordinary Joe's don't do?" Yes he is going to use every loophole in the book, and yes rich people do that. Whether I like it is immaterial; virtue doesn't enter into it. The system has rules and so long as you play by those rules (i.e. aren't a criminal) then the system is responsible for the results. Garbage in garbage out.

I agree, in context of a man who says and does such things there is no purpose in asking why. We know why, there is no reason to pretend we don’t.

That said now you have an ethical question. If indeed its garbage in garbage out, why and how do you change it? Do you change it because it morally wrong or because it harms society, or to get your share, or do you just accept it and look away? If you want better what process do you use?

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That doesn't matter. Any system that relies on people being 'fair spirited and not taking more than their share' is ridiculous. The rules should absolutely bar any untoward use of accounts, and any use within the rules it just using your money as wisely as possible. You can object to what a person spends their money on, or how they treat their employees, or any number of other things, but in terms of using the mechanical systems available smart people will optimize maximally. If I told you that you could legally file your taxes in a way that would save you thousands a year and be perfectly legal, you wouldn't do it?

It does matter. The system does rely on people being fair and for "the good" at times even willing to sacrifice. (Life is the sacrifice of Life). In the majority of our interactions throughout the day we do just that. Without it, chaos.  We ‘default to truth’ because not to do so pretty much ends any way of working together. We do it because selfishly in most cases it works to our favor.

I am no paradigm of virtue and when it comes to charity, I give myself a D-. If you told me how to legally save thousands a year on my taxes I would do it and I would most certainly not try to fix it. I would also not pretend I was going to try fix it. 
That said to take advantage of most tax loop holes requires having lots of money to play with in that way.  The middle class and poor don’t tend to benefit from those loop holes, and you could argue in many cases it harms them.
I’m in that group so by your argument to ‘Get my share’ fair or not, I want to close those loop holes and make such abuses criminal.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2019, 12:31:18 PM by rightleft22 »

rightleft22

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Re: In any other administration...
« Reply #66 on: November 14, 2019, 12:57:57 PM »
I would add that the genius of men who play the system as Trump does is to get the common man, who will never get to benefit in the same way from the such a system, to do the fighting and sacrificing to keep things as they are for them. 

Watching the game of thrones, we focus on the main characters, but the question that I couldn't help thinking about was why did the common man follow them. For most of them all they got for their trouble was suffering and in the end everything changed but stayed the same. Burned out homes and new group of people calling the shots.


Fenring

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Re: In any other administration...
« Reply #67 on: November 14, 2019, 01:30:18 PM »
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The system has rules and so long as you play by those rules (i.e. aren't a criminal) then the system is responsible for the results. Garbage in garbage out.

That said now you have an ethical question. If indeed its garbage in garbage out, why and how do you change it? Do you change it because it morally wrong or because it harms society, or to get your share, or do you just accept it and look away? If you want better what process do you use?

Are you asking why, in the first place, society should have any rules at all? I suppose you can engage in the political philosophy of that, although I wasn't intending to do so. The structure of the rules can have many ends, true: for instance rules made by wolves tend to be about maximizing the fleecing of sheep. Other rules may be made in order to mimize the unrest of the sheep. In a system trying to avoid the wolf/sheep dichotomy the rules may be structured in such a way as to remove conflicts of interest between fellow humans and to maximize their incentive to help each other. Each system will have its own results based on its 'programming'. Like I said, garbage in garbage out. If a system is generating bad results, sure you can blame the users, but I generally don't.

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The system does rely on people being fair and for "the good" at times even willing to sacrifice. (Life is the sacrifice of Life).

Yep and that's one of the principle problems. Any system open-ended enough to be grossly abused if people don't behave as you'd like them to may as well just be restated to say "abuse the system." Now I do agree that if Tocqueville is right that laws always follow from mores, then we do want to inculcate a good set of mores from which laws can follow. But I also personally see it as being a feedback cycle, where the mores in turn are shaped by the ecosystem set by the laws.

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If you told me how to legally save thousands a year on my taxes I would do it and I would most certainly not try to fix it. I would also not pretend I was going to try fix it.

I don't know what you're intending to mean with "try to fix it." Fix what? I said it would be totally legal, i.e. what the system allows for. If you're so bent on 'doing right' with your money you can always donate it to charity and make it your choice. If you think tax law should be stricter or that the income tax levels should be higher then fine, but that's got nothing to do with maximing how well you operate within a given tax system. Telling people with lots of money they shouldn't manage it responsibly is just silly. If corporations used that logic they would go out of business.

I would add that the genius of men who play the system as Trump does is to get the common man, who will never get to benefit in the same way from the such a system, to do the fighting and sacrificing to keep things as they are for them.

It is the system itself which allows for turning your fellow man into a quasi-slave. This is not a necessary component of all possible systems, although it *is* something that will naturally happen it not strictly curtailed through rules. Provide the mechanisms for dominating others and some select people will do it every time and end up in charge. You do know that 1-2% of the population is psychopathics, right? And that some other percentage that aren't may be somewhere close to that on the spectrum; and that even those that aren't may include people who are just nasty or don't care any more. You can't predicate a system on people like that no existing.

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Watching the game of thrones, we focus on the main characters, but the question that I couldn't help thinking about was why did the common man follow them. For most of them all they got for their trouble was suffering and in the end everything changed but stayed the same. Burned out homes and new group of people calling the shots.

It's not a vote, right? You may as well ask why people in China now "allow" their government to curtail their rights and subject them to morality scores. Even the American founders seemed clear that the only recourse against a government oppressing you is bloody revolution. Well that's harder and harder to do these days, and especially when you've got lots of goodies you're afraid to lose. Give the people lots of stuff and they'll tolerate basically anything. It's when their children are starving that they'll burn down city hall.

TheDrake

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Re: In any other administration...
« Reply #68 on: November 14, 2019, 01:47:37 PM »
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Telling people with lots of money they shouldn't manage it responsibly is just silly. If corporations used that logic they would go out of business.

So they should maximize their monetary return at the expense of any other value? Or they'll disappear? By that logic there's absolutely nothing wrong with having your shoes made by eight year olds, because it is legal. Just a broken system they are taking advantage of.

No problem for plantation owners, after all slavery was legal and they might go out of business if they didn't flog human beings for working too slowly.

Crunch

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Re: In any other administration...
« Reply #69 on: November 14, 2019, 02:07:16 PM »
Yes, by saying they should manage money responsibly he actually meant they should chase the almighty dollar at the expense of everything else. Up to, and including, child labor and slavery.

Really connected the dots on that one.  ::)

TheDrake

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Re: In any other administration...
« Reply #70 on: November 14, 2019, 02:09:17 PM »
I'm simply illustrating that virtually everyone understands that ethics play a role in money management. Including making questionable deductions and having a fake charity to settle your personal and business obligations.

rightleft22

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Re: In any other administration...
« Reply #71 on: November 14, 2019, 02:51:33 PM »
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If a system is generating bad results, sure you can blame the users, but I generally don't.

I get that. however if we want better how do we go about making the system accountable?
In general we demonstrate how the system is broken by pointing out those that are abusing it and why that isn't working for the many.

If the system is broken it begs the question to if we want to fix it, and then how. By fixing it I mean just that. If my car is broken and I need it I fix it.

in this debate about the charity foundations and how they are used and sometimes manipulated your asking that we put a side question of virtue, ethics morality. Its the system that is broken.
but as TheDrake illustrated "virtually everyone understands that ethics play a role in money management" ethics also plays a role in making the decision to fix or make better a system that is broken. 

We can compartmentalize. Focus on the broken system - garbage in garbage out, without mentioning those that are abusing it, or ethics... however determining the why its broken and why it should be corrected becomes very difficult.

The problem here isn't the system its attaching the system to partisanship. Partisanship is the garbage.

Abusing a charity for personal gain is wrong for anyone, regardless of political affiliation, race, gender. Full Stop. 
We all should demand better but most wont because persons involved in that abuse belong to their tribe. 

Fenring

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Re: In any other administration...
« Reply #72 on: November 14, 2019, 03:09:28 PM »
I'm simply illustrating that virtually everyone understands that ethics play a role in money management. Including making questionable deductions and having a fake charity to settle your personal and business obligations.

Ethics *may* play a role in money management, but the areas in which it does are separate from what we're discussing here. Unethical behavior may include using the power of your business to leverage unfavorable deals with suppliers that have little choice but to agree; and may include treating your employees poorly, if legally; and may include refusing to ever donate to charity. But they don't include using every tool at your disposal to minimize taxable income if the law permits it. Maybe there are really complex loopholes that the law intends to block but cannot keep up with special maneuvering that people have figured out to do, which would be an engineering issue not a moral issue.

There are, however, some things the law allows that I think it shouldn't, and that is something to take to the legislators, not to the business owners. Asking them pretty please not to import goods made by children is useless when the competitors are doing it and you'll never be able to compete unless you follow suit. If production practices like that are to be decried then they need to be outlawed. If using slaves is no good then ban slavery. Allowing a practice but hoping people won't use it is just dumb. Now a lot of the time a legal system is either incomplete or broken, and IMO that's the fault of the system. When slavery in the U.S. was legal there really was an ethical dilemma there for people who thought it was wrong. The answer is that it shouldn't have been legal; it *may* also have been true that while legal people had the capability to refrain from owning slaves, but IMO that's beside the point when discussing tax law. Historically I think the rule of thumb tended to be that rules were minimal compared with the kind of schemes people could come up with, but that's not going to fly in this age, nor will it going forward.

Fenring

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Re: In any other administration...
« Reply #73 on: November 14, 2019, 03:20:29 PM »
I get that. however if we want better how do we go about making the system accountable?
In general we demonstrate how the system is broken by pointing out those that are abusing it and why that isn't working for the many.

If the system is broken it begs the question to if we want to fix it, and then how. By fixing it I mean just that. If my car is broken and I need it I fix it.

I know this is your question generally. But the people need to actually want it to be fixed. But partisan politics isn't just a fantasy created by politicians; it also requires people to buy into it and legitimize it. Voting for major party candidates does that, for instance, even though it can be difficult to see an alternative that's acceptable. Take a look at people in life, on this board, on social media, and elsehwere - do you see them rebelling against the partisan mindset, or taking part in it? Ask yourself if they really want to fix that, whatever else they say. It's kind of like clickbait articles: people can call them trash all they want, but if they're clicking on them then guess why they exist.

If politics pushes people's buttons, squeezing the "flattering you" button when needed, the "we've found the enemy for you to hate" button, and so forth, the people tend to like those things. Or if 'like them' is a bit facile, they participate in them in any case. I mean, I find it hard to believe that people aren't up in arms about campaign finance and political bribery. I hear of multi-billion dollar campaigns and it makes my head spin. But just as soon as you hear someone advocate that it's great because it means 'their team' is serious then you know the game is over. They'd rather their team win than both teams are kept in check. As long as that's the case you don't have a public will to change anything. Most likely significant change will result from either a total forcing of it by some circumstance, or by some disaster.

It all comes back to conflicts of interest. Most people will not accept any kind of personal loss (including "my team" being taken down a peg) even if it means an improved system for everyone. I also think that probably a majority of people would endorse a system that gives them $5 even knowing it costs someone else $10. They have not been brought up to think of the aggregate system, they have been brought up to worship winners and to hate losers. Again, look to the culture for that. The only way I see to change the culture, and I'm not kidding about this, is to either go into education or to raise your own children and teach them different values.


Seriati

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Re: In any other administration...
« Reply #74 on: November 14, 2019, 03:30:03 PM »
Except that there was no part of that as a legitimate charitable donation. It wasn't like they thought about their mission, picked a charity that did good things. They bought off a dude that had his own shady charity fund.

Do you even vet this nonsense?  The original event was a charity fund raiser.  The win a million dollar hole was hit, which meant the charity holding the fund raiser owed a million dollars.  None of that is "Trump."

Trump's "involvement" was that the event was hosted at his golf course.  How was he "buying" off a guy?  The "guy" was owed $1 million.  When the insurance fell through, they settled it for 3/4's paid by the original charity to the "guy".  Trump's contribution to make the situation right was 3 life time memberships to the course that were auctioned off.

The fact that it was "settled" by contributing the funds to other charities is literally the "best case" of that scenario.

None of that is shady or remotely a bad thing.

 
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Because Trump made many of his charitable donations through the Foundation.  Pretty common for the super wealthy.

actually made me do a spite take.
Trump doesn't do charity. He doesn't believe in it, he's transnational in everything he does/is.  His charity "giving" has always involved smoke a mirrors.

That's pretty cynical.  Have no idea what Trump's motivations are, but the NY AG admitted in the stipulations that the charitable donations were to legit charities, not a single claim was for donations to "fake" charities.

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No need to be embarrassed or perform mental/ethical gymnastics to defend this type of behavior. You either find it wrong (regardless who does it) or you do but can't admit it (fear it might make it harder to support your man) or you don't care,  No matter which way we feel its not like anything more is going to come of it.

Or maybe, I think that when a thread is based on lies, that debunking them ought to trigger some humility and maybe a mea culpa, rather than an endless string of 'splaining why notwithstanding the refutations it was still ultimate evil?

Seriously, I didn't engage in mental gymnastics to defend the indefensible.  I just pointed out that claims like, 'Trump admitted to stealing from charities' or that 'Trump admitted guilt' are bogus lies.  I pointed out that the Foundation was mismanaged, but also pointed out that virtually none of that resulted in a real harm, and virtually everything they did was correctable with a bit of paperwork (ie, it wasn't substantively wrong).

Other than poor governance practices, Trump's big mistake was his belief that donating money from a foundation that pretty much exclusively was funded from his own assets and contributions in lieu of payments to himself, was the same things as donating the money directly.  In all cases, he could have skipped funding the foundation and made the donations himself - got the same tax benefits - and there would have been NOTHING shady about it.  Hence, it's hard to see what's "shady" about this process.

Saying "yes rich people do that", don't you wonder if Bill Gates is washing money through his charity to pay his golf membership fees? No? Because it is a legitimate charity trying to actually help people.

I 100% guarantee that Bill Gates has put money through his foundation to donate to another charity that he could have donated directly.

I would not remotely be stunned, if Gates had not on more than one occasion directed that people compensate his foundation for things Gates provided from his own resources (e.g., auctioning off a lunch, or donating an event, or a speaking fee, heck I wouldn't be surprised if something hasn't been donated by Microsoft or hosted at their facilities at some point).  Would you really?  None of that is shady, and it's not shady when Trump did it either.

But moreover, in none of this is there an allegation that Trump used charitable funds to pay for benefits to himself.  He didn't use them to PAY for golf memberships, he literally donated golf memberships to the charities to auction off for their benefit.

It takes a lot of mind twisting to see a crime in making donations to charity, where no part of the process was illegal or even a bad thing.

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I think you'd be surprised how many rich people are not shady operators.

And I think you'd be surprised how an aggressive prosecutor can make any look like a shady operator.  I mean heck, the media does it all the time.  Want someone to "look guilty"?  Catch them by surprise and keep reshowing the "no comment" scene right after you ask a leading question.

Want a private foundation that's poorly managed to look "guilty" it's trivially easy once you dig through all of their records.

rightleft22

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Re: In any other administration...
« Reply #75 on: November 14, 2019, 03:47:42 PM »
Quote
But the people need to actually want it to be fixed.

I agree, we make a lot of partisan noise but don't talk about the question as to if we want to or should fix it.

For me its not a partisan issue. Abusing ones charity as far to many people and organisations do is wrong and should be criminal.
The problem may be in the laws of the system but the garbage is in the making of the issue a partisan one.

As a aside in general when we debate these kinds of things we disregard and or look away from the ethical and moral questions.
Facts, truth, ethics don't matter, its the system that's broken and should be the focus. But I can't separate them. How do we repair a system and do better, if that is what we want to do, without facts, truth or ethics?

If we don't actually want to fix the system why are we debating anything at all?
 

Fenring

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Re: In any other administration...
« Reply #76 on: November 14, 2019, 03:56:03 PM »
As a aside in general when we debate these kinds of things we disregard and or look away from the ethical and moral questions.
Facts, truth, ethics don't matter, its the system that's broken and should be the focus. But I can't separate them. How do we repair a system and do better, if that is what we want to do, without facts, truth or ethics?

I think it's most appropriate to discuss morals and truth in two contexts: when speaking to an individual about things they have personally done, and when looking at systemic design from a top-down point of view. It's good to ask a particular person why they did a thing, whether they think it's a good thing, do they have guilt about it, etc etc; and it's good to ask what we want out of a system, a government, a business culture, and so forth, and to debate the moral and ethical reasons for one choice over the other. But when discussing how aggregate results comes down within a given system I think the most useful thing to do is to look at its design, and especially how various actions are incentivized or inhibited. You want people to walk in an orderly fashion you design a good walkway and educate the public on how to use it. You want a specific person to walk in an orderly fashion you have a conversation with them, or notify them when they're being an a-hole. Those are two different issues.

Seriati

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Re: In any other administration...
« Reply #77 on: November 14, 2019, 04:00:15 PM »
For me its not a partisan issue. Abusing ones charity as far to many people and organisations do is wrong and should be criminal.

Specifically, what do you mean by "abusing ones charity"?

What activities should be criminal?

TheDrake

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Re: In any other administration...
« Reply #78 on: November 14, 2019, 04:02:00 PM »
Absolutely there is an ethics question, and often coupled with a legal question, when it comes to taxes.

When you buy a bunch of goats and stick them on your golf course in order to take advantage of a tax break designed to help farmers, that is unethical. It's a shady maneuver that is also 100% legal. Now you could amend the law to stipulate "not on a golf course" or add more rules to excise the abuse. Which is how we get millions of lines added to the tax code to the point where nobody can understand them and are at risk of making dozens of legitimate errors.

TheDeamon

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Re: In any other administration...
« Reply #79 on: November 14, 2019, 04:21:13 PM »
it *may* also have been true that while legal people had the capability to refrain from owning slaves, but IMO that's beside the point when discussing tax law.

No may about it as far as my family tree can tell. I have a great(omitted)-grandfather who married the daughter of a wealthy landowner who both owned a lot of land, and a lot of slaves. Family lore on the matter is that some slaves were included as part of the dowry, he freed them because he didn't feel slavery was right. This tends to be reflected in the 1840 census for his family(they married in the 1830's), no slaves present in the household despite living in Mississippi at the time. (He died in Utah before the 1850 census, and the family was in Utah by then, still no documentation indicating slaves being held by that family)

Fenring

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Re: In any other administration...
« Reply #80 on: November 14, 2019, 04:31:45 PM »
No may about it as far as my family tree can tell. I have a great(omitted)-grandfather who married the daughter of a wealthy landowner who both owned a lot of land, and a lot of slaves. Family lore on the matter is that some slaves were included as part of the dowry, he freed them because he didn't feel slavery was right. This tends to be reflected in the 1840 census for his family(they married in the 1830's), no slaves present in the household despite living in Mississippi at the time. (He died in Utah before the 1850 census, and the family was in Utah by then, still no documentation indicating slaves being held by that family)

That's fine, but the point of my comment is that it's *not* acceptable to just tell people "hey, it's ethically you shady you using slaves, even though it's legal." You need to also outlaw it. I mean, sure, you should also tell people on an individual basis "hey man, that's not cool" but the real solution is to do away with the practice, rather than to hope people won't do it and then sort of frown when they do.

TheDeamon

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Re: In any other administration...
« Reply #81 on: November 14, 2019, 05:16:59 PM »
That's fine, but the point of my comment is that it's *not* acceptable to just tell people "hey, it's ethically you shady you using slaves, even though it's legal." You need to also outlaw it. I mean, sure, you should also tell people on an individual basis "hey man, that's not cool" but the real solution is to do away with the practice, rather than to hope people won't do it and then sort of frown when they do.

Not going to disagree with that, too many confuse legality with morality, as that cuts both ways.

Slavery being legal didn't make it moral.

Harboring of fugitive slaves being illegal didn't make the act immoral.

TheDrake

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Re: In any other administration...
« Reply #82 on: November 14, 2019, 05:18:20 PM »
That's fine, but the point of my comment is that it's *not* acceptable to just tell people "hey, it's ethically you shady you using slaves, even though it's legal." You need to also outlaw it. I mean, sure, you should also tell people on an individual basis "hey man, that's not cool" but the real solution is to do away with the practice, rather than to hope people won't do it and then sort of frown when they do.

That's great, I look forward to an era of greatly increased regulations and compliance costs. Like Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank.

rightleft22

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Re: In any other administration...
« Reply #83 on: November 14, 2019, 05:23:57 PM »
Quote
Specifically, what do you mean by "abusing ones charity"?

What activities should be criminal?

Far to many charities spend to much of the donated monies on wages and administration, its not unusual for only 20% of donation to get to the cause most people hope their helping. A charity that can't get to at least 50% should lose its status. IMO

Its should be criminal for a charity to be used for personal financial gain (beyond tax shelter), means of payoff... basically if the majority of the monies are not directed to the cause people believe they are donating to - crime.  The charity loses it's status for sure and maybe heave fines if not jail time.


rightleft22

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Re: In any other administration...
« Reply #84 on: November 14, 2019, 05:34:22 PM »
That's fine, but the point of my comment is that it's *not* acceptable to just tell people "hey, it's ethically you shady you using slaves, even though it's legal." You need to also outlaw it. I mean, sure, you should also tell people on an individual basis "hey man, that's not cool" but the real solution is to do away with the practice, rather than to hope people won't do it and then sort of frown when they do.

That's great, I look forward to an era of greatly increased regulations and compliance costs. Like Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank.

But more regulation isn't always the out come. Actually when its done correctly regulations are often simplified
In the movie 'Matter of sex' the issue of many of the tax laws was attaching a law to a attribute like gender. In the case argued the word woman was attached to the word caregiver which complicated things. Only a woman could be caregivers and receive the tax benefit. Remove the unnecessary attachment of gender and race and the tax law was simplified.

A law preventing someone running for office and using their charity foundation as a means of funding it is easy. NO
« Last Edit: November 14, 2019, 05:37:35 PM by rightleft22 »

Seriati

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Re: In any other administration...
« Reply #85 on: November 14, 2019, 06:28:02 PM »
Quote
Specifically, what do you mean by "abusing ones charity"?

What activities should be criminal?

Far to many charities spend to much of the donated monies on wages and administration, its not unusual for only 20% of donation to get to the cause most people hope their helping. A charity that can't get to at least 50% should lose its status. IMO

Okay.  Got no problem with that, Charities today are frequently abused by shady groups that tie themselves to a good sounding cause.  Look at the lists maintained of abusive charities, there are hundreds if not thousands that try to play off the Make a wish Theme where almost none of the money goes to the kids.  My wife can't stand a well known Breast Cancer charity that gives less than 20% to research and spends most of it's money on awareness.

But that has next to nothing to do with Trump's Foundation.  I'm not aware they paid anyone a salary or spent anything on fund raising.

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Its should be criminal for a charity to be used for personal financial gain (beyond tax shelter), means of payoff... basically if the majority of the monies are not directed to the cause people believe they are donating to - crime.  The charity loses it's status for sure and maybe heave fines if not jail time.

Okay.  How does that fit in here?  The Trump Foundation monies were permitted to go to any charitable causes the Board approved (the Board was pretty much, Trump, two of his kids and an employee of his).  Ergo - any charity is within their mandate - and there's not even a plausible allegation of a non-charity receiving a payment (other than the one case where the charity self reported an error related to two similarly named groups) from the foundation. 

Again, other than the campaign event, the issues with the Foundation were connected with payments to other charities - nothing about such payments was illegal or improper for the Foundation to do.  What was improper was the "connection" to non-profit entities that were arguably required to make the donation themselves.  To the extent they were holy owned by Trump - the "argument" is that Trump was required to donate more, even though it was almost certainly the understanding at the time, that the Foundation would be making the donations.

I guess my issue here is wrapping my head around what specifically is agitating people here.  Other than TDS, and some fake fact situations, I'm not getting what EXACTLY people find outrageous. 

I mean to put it simply, the claim is "you promised to make a charitable donation, which you did from a charity to which you donated money previously."   And jumping from there to "evil".

TheDrake

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Re: In any other administration...
« Reply #86 on: November 14, 2019, 06:29:25 PM »
But that's what everyone is bickering about. It's not like the charity went and bought a campaign bus, which all reasonable people would agree is illegal. How do you define what counts as funding a campaign? Does getting publicity count?

As for identifying shady charities, I trust Charity Navigator

Unsurprisingly, the Trump Foundation made the list, probably quite some time ago.

Here's an example of that slushiness that you talked about Fenring, and it isn't a high profile politician. Some regular people do similar things and get caught.

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Hall, a former professional and collegiate football player, started the Roy Hall Driven Foundation in 2009. The organization changed its name to the Driven Foundation in 2010. Hall received cash in exchange for personal autographs when it was unclear whether he was appearing on his personal behalf as a private individual or as a representative of Driven. He also made public speaking appearances under circumstances in which it was unclear whether he was appearing on his own behalf as a private individual or as a representative of Driven. No paper trail existed to differentiate the two.

Here's a list of all the organizations similar to Trump's who also got in trouble for the same stuff.

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Schulman reached a settlement with then-Attorney General Eric Schneiderman late last year over allegations that he diverted funds from NYLAG to other charities he controlled in order to raise his community profile. This is similar to how Underwood says that Trump Campaign officials reportedly directed the disbursements of funds to Iowa veterans’ charities to appear more generous as the 2016 Republican Iowa Caucus approached.

So yeah, this counts as illegal behavior.

Seriati

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Re: In any other administration...
« Reply #87 on: November 14, 2019, 07:36:42 PM »
But that's what everyone is bickering about. It's not like the charity went and bought a campaign bus, which all reasonable people would agree is illegal. How do you define what counts as funding a campaign? Does getting publicity count?

I don't know, does it?  Are you seriously arguing that no other politician has ever had publicity support from a charity or the unspoken endorsement of a charity? 

I mean again, I asked this upfront, is the message on the main beef that got NY interested, that Trump had a charitable event for Veteran's instead of participating in a debate, really conduct you think makes us worse?  Is that really something you think is important to punish?  As shady?  Or Nefarious?

Maybe there's a good argument there.  But I haven't seen it made here.

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As for identifying shady charities, I trust Charity Navigator

Unsurprisingly, the Trump Foundation made the list, probably quite some time ago.

You trust them?  Does that mean you searched on the list for Trump?  Cause the "Trump Foundation" did make the list, and probably a long time ago.  And its "official" rating?  Not rated.  Why?  Cause it's a private foundation.

You know what else made the list?  "Donald J. Trump Foundation" which shows with a "High Concern" rating - why?  Not because of any financial issues, but largely because of the post 2016 negative media coverage, and then the AG's agreement to dissolve it.  You can't make this up, literally, you trust their rating, which is just repeating the negative media and nothing about how they spend money.  Might ask yourself why it isn't "unrated" given what it is - a private foundation.

So the "shadiness" that they are reporting on is completely based on the events in the AG report and a very hostile media covering him.  That's pretty much just repeating what we know.  Why am I having to take the 30 seconds to do the search on the link you provided to get to the truth that it's not adding anything to the debate? 

And I followed your link to the situations similar to Trumps to "prove" it wasn't selective enforcement.  You have to be kidding, each of those cases involves significant fraud and misappropriation - the exact thing that doesn't exist in the Trump Foundation.  As I noted - way above - these cases are never brought as a routine matter without fraud and your link proves that in the lengths it goes to assert these are the same thing.

Case one.  The guilty party "took" $500k from his father's foundation.  That's theft (ie fraud).  The "similarity" to Trump?  Trump approved actual charitable payments without calling a Board meeting (with his two kids and employees).   Given that in case one, there's no way to make that legit, and in Trump's case there's no chance the Board wouldn't have approved.  Fail.

Case two.  The guilty party redirected funds from a charity he controlled to other charities he controlled to raise his profile.  That's oddly also theft, the first charity can not divert it's funds as a matter of law so long as it's charitable purpose exists.  That doesn't apply - at all - to a foundation that is authorized to contribute to any charity.  The "similarity" apparently is that the guilty party was "trying to raise his profile" which they assert is the same as Trump.  The fact that first is patently theft from the charity and the other is not is kind of a big difference to ignore to make the tangential claim the point.  Fail.

Case three.  Actual fake charity that didn't do anything it said it was going to do.  Given that doesn't match the Trump situation - at all - how did they create a similarity?  Oh yeah the Trump foundation bid - at another charities event - $10k on a portrait of Trump.  There's nothing actually illegal about that though, it's not an uncommon thing to bid the amount of an intended donation on something the charity doesn't really need.  The only real thing this tells you is about Trump's vanity.  The actual problem that the Trump foundation had on that point wasn't that this purchase was illegal, its that the Foundation let the Trump hotels hang the picture without charging them "rent".   This one seems more like a lie than anything else, but it's a fail.

Case four.  The guilty party bought themselves a house with the charity's money.  Nothing like that happened with Trump.  How is this "similar" well the charity had a "failure of oversight" just like how Trump did (oh yeah, except in Trump's case there's no chance that the legal Board wouldn't have signed off on what he wanted, so this one is completely fake).  Fail.

Case five.  The guilty brothers used the charities funds on shopping sprees for themselves.  How is that similar to Trump?  Well the assertion is that these guys mixed family and charity business - just like the Trumps.  Even though nothing remotely like this occurred with the Trumps.  This one is the most arguable as they site to Trump paying personal legal expenses - by which they are referring to Trump agreeing to make a charitable donation and actually making it from the Foundation.  That's an actual violation, but it's almost completely a technical one given that Trump would be the ultimate source of the payment no mater which person paid it.  Still, the similarity has nothing to do with the theft that brought charges on the brothers, which was not justifiable under any fact pattern.

Case six.  The guilty party used the charities funds to pay for his meals, vacations and entertainment.  They don't explain how this one was similar other than to claim "allegations resemble" those against Trump.  They literally don't.  There are no allegations that Trump ever took money from the Foundation in this manner, in fact money flowed the other way from Trump or in lieu of payments that could have been to Trump.  This one was a complete fail, but I note, even on the lean facts presented, I'd expect that the guilty party here may have had a legitimate dispute - travel by an officer of an entity, even a charity is often legitimately reimbursable (the allegation is that these were "vacations" which likely means they were mixed use trips and may have been shady), as would be certain meals (again the allegations were that these were excessive, though they easily good have been for legitimate fund raising or other purposes) and entertainment (which personally I don't think should ever be okay on a "personal" level, but would often be legit in a fund raising context).

Pretty much that list was garbage to make you think there's some kind of NY AG ruthlessness towards charities that doesn't exist.  Those were all cases where charitable funds were clearly converted to illegal uses (except maybe the last, though it isn't clear from what they described).  That didn't happen with Trump's charities.  Even in the argument about "settlements" the settlements were literally donations to charities.  One could actually argue that what in fact happened was that the Foundation made a free standing donation and that Trump still owes another, but I suspect that the donations were always papered the other way.  A technical violation, but NOTHING LIKE FRAUD.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2019, 07:42:11 PM by Seriati »

TheDrake

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Re: In any other administration...
« Reply #88 on: November 14, 2019, 07:49:11 PM »
You trust them?  Does that mean you searched on the list for Trump?  Cause the "Trump Foundation" did make the list, and probably a long time ago.  And its "official" rating?  Not rated.  Why?  Cause it's a private foundation.

No, I've been using them for over a decade to research any charity I'm considering making a donation to, including overhead ratios, legal action, and background.


TheDeamon

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Re: In any other administration...
« Reply #89 on: November 14, 2019, 07:54:17 PM »
A law preventing someone running for office and using their charity foundation as a means of funding it is easy. NO

Hey, so the Clinton's and Bill Gates, among others can never run for office, or otherwise need to put their charities on hiatus while they hold office? Sounds great.

You do realize that the moment "The Clinton Foundation" or any other "(Insert Name) Foundation" performs a charitable act, even absent being directly tied to a campaign event, it is going to "come around" and be used to benefit the Campaign in some shape or form?

This shouldn't be an abstract thing for some of you guys, who feel that the Stormy Daniels payoff was a campaign contribution that needed to be reported to the FEC.

TheDeamon

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Re: In any other administration...
« Reply #90 on: November 14, 2019, 08:10:13 PM »
Case six.  The guilty party used the charities funds to pay for his meals, vacations and entertainment.  They don't explain how this one was similar other than to claim "allegations resemble" those against Trump.  They literally don't.  There are no allegations that Trump ever took money from the Foundation in this manner, in fact money flowed the other way from Trump or in lieu of payments that could have been to Trump.  This one was a complete fail, but I note, even on the lean facts presented, I'd expect that the guilty party here may have had a legitimate dispute - travel by an officer of an entity, even a charity is often legitimately reimbursable (the allegation is that these were "vacations" which likely means they were mixed use trips and may have been shady), as would be certain meals (again the allegations were that these were excessive, though they easily good have been for legitimate fund raising or other purposes) and entertainment (which personally I don't think should ever be okay on a "personal" level, but would often be legit in a fund raising context).

The funny thing is case six is eerie in its resemblance to how The Clinton Foundation actually does operate, except they're clever enough to dot their i's and cross their t's.

Bill's heading to $100,000 speaking engagement? Here's use of the foundation funded jet, foundation funded hotels, foundation funded food(via a per diem determined by the board, no doubt) and oh we might spread those engagements over several days within close physical proximity to each other, so rather than flying them home only to fly back a day later, we'll just pay for them to stay in the areas for the 2 to 3 days between speaking engagements.

Comparable games are played with the use of Air Force One, and surprisingly, the media did report about how Obama was taking advantage of it during his term in office. Although I expect they'll be screaming if Trump tries it. Where in order to avoid having to pay the full cost of their vacation trips, or even campaign trips, they'd mix some "Presidential Duties" into the trip on the way out, or back from the vacation, if not both. That way the tax payer would pick up the tab for travel from the "official function" to/from the White House depending on if they're leaving or coming back. Leaving PotUS(or the campaign) to pay the difference for the "not official" portion of the trip.

Fenring

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Re: In any other administration...
« Reply #91 on: November 15, 2019, 12:42:09 AM »
Thanks for that write-up about the cases, Seriati. I can't vet any of that personally but I appreciate it when someone does legwork.

Crunch

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Re: In any other administration...
« Reply #92 on: November 15, 2019, 07:23:36 AM »
Thanks for that write-up about the cases, Seriati. I can't vet any of that personally but I appreciate it when someone does legwork.

Concur.

Seriati

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Re: In any other administration...
« Reply #93 on: November 15, 2019, 09:16:26 AM »
I appreciate the thought, but I didn't do any real leg work on those.  Just follow the link, it's a bunch of one paragraph "summaries" of each case.  I'd expect if you look at the actual cases there's a lot of nuance. 

My point though was simple, there are an enormous amount of technical violations of the law that occur.  It's almost unheard of for a government inspection of something not to generate a list of "violations," which is short for violations of law.  Prosecutions, however, almost never follow without some form of fraud or deliberate bad act.  There's nothing there in the Trump situation on that front, which makes it obvious that the prosecution of Trump was in fact out of the ordinary when you compare it to a list of actual prosecutions and they all pretty much involve fraud. 

I should dig into that sixth case further.  Given the description its either something really eggregrious, expenses with no basis in reality at all, or the individual in question was themselves targeted for a reason.

This is exactly why the recent focus by leftist charities on Attorney General races has me freaked out.  They are deliberately targeting the systemic weakness in allowing a prosecutor to choose whether to pursue a case.  That discretion is supposed to be there to further justice, to "right size" the level of the prosecution to the facts and the situation, if instead it is used to punish political enemies and protect political allies our system is going to collapse.  We're going to really need prosecutorial reform.

rightleft22

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Re: In any other administration...
« Reply #94 on: November 15, 2019, 10:55:43 AM »
A law preventing someone running for office and using their charity foundation as a means of funding it is easy. NO

Hey, so the Clinton's and Bill Gates, among others can never run for office, or otherwise need to put their charities on hiatus while they hold office? Sounds great.

You do realize that the moment "The Clinton Foundation" or any other "(Insert Name) Foundation" performs a charitable act, even absent being directly tied to a campaign event, it is going to "come around" and be used to benefit the Campaign in some shape or form?

This shouldn't be an abstract thing for some of you guys, who feel that the Stormy Daniels payoff was a campaign contribution that needed to be reported to the FEC.

Clinton foundation gets a Failing grade and IMO should not be given a charity status. Less then 20% goes to actual causes.
By my rules anyone with a foundation can run for office they just can't use any of the foundation monies in that campaign. Their foundations would have to be 100%
transparent.  If they have something to hide, don't run.

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But that has next to nothing to do with Trump's Foundation

You asked me what I meant by "abusing ones charity" and was responding about charity in general not specific to Trump.

Trumps foundation has always been a sham long before 2016. Clinton's Foundation is also questionable and IMO falls into the sham category as well allthough that can point to causes is which they 'made a difference' I don't think Trump foundation can do that. Regardless under my rules they get shut down.

I've lost track of what were debating here

With regards to Trump. The man doesn't believe in charity. Everything for him is transnational, 'What have you done for me lately is his jam. Everything is a quid pro quo. With that frame of reference their are no lines that can't be crossed because there are no lines so shutting down his foundation was the right thing to do.
I have no idea if he crossed any criminal lines or just played the system to take as much as he could from it - garbage in garbage out. 

It's clear from debate we don't want to change how the system works with regards to such foundations work and If we look away from the ethics and morals involved there is nothing left to debate here.

The over all affect though is that we continue to lower the bar of our expectations for future leaders and we only have ourselves to blame

Seriati

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Re: In any other administration...
« Reply #95 on: November 15, 2019, 11:05:38 AM »
Again though, you seem to be making a lot of implicit assumptions there that don't actual bear out.  When you describe Trump's charity as a "sham" the normal meaning of that is fake, and doesn't actually make contributions to real charities.  There's no evidence that this is occurred.  The Foundation made real donations to real charities.

Is all you're saying that the point of the Foundation was to make Trump look good?  It's a sham because it's there to be used by Trump to "prove" or show his goodness?

If that's you're beef, you're going to have to walk me through why using a Foundation to do exactly what he could have done directly (and there's no question he could have done all these things directly, gotten tax benefits and full credit) is wrong it your world. 

What exactly are you saying that he used the Foundation to do - that he couldn't have literally just done himself - that warrants the negativity?

Fenring

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Re: In any other administration...
« Reply #96 on: November 15, 2019, 11:07:41 AM »
Far to many charities spend to much of the donated monies on wages and administration, its not unusual for only 20% of donation to get to the cause most people hope their helping. A charity that can't get to at least 50% should lose its status. IMO

I just wanted to address this point in passing, because there are misconceptions about how these things often go. Have you ever run a nonprofit or a charity? They are super hard to run well and usually are over budget for everything, because they don't have that much budget, and require a lot of volunteer hours. However if they get enough donations and have an income stream the first thing you want to do in these cases is hire full-time staff so that you can actually stop being a shoestring operation and get real work done. Problem: you need to keep growing if you're going to be hiring staff. And problem: the bigger your goals the more infrastructure you need. Having a $400,000 operating budget with $100,000 of suplus sounds bad to you, right? Only 20% is going to its proper destination. But hold on a sec, because if they're growing that means the overhead may stay the same since it's now sufficient but the surplus will grow. That's in a good case. In a bad case donations are dropping off, but due to the size of the operating the overhead can't be lowered without removing staff and administrative space. But if you do that it doesn't wean down the size of the operation slowly; no it basically makes it impossible to keep doing what they're doing at that scale, which means if you downsize you're also going to downsize on donations, and begin to circle the drain.

These aren't the only two options, but there are many reasons why a charitable organization needs a substantial administration even though its income isn't what it hopes it will be. At best we could call that an inevitable result of competition, where other causes are competing for your donors. At worst we'll have to admit that many (most?) administrators don't do an great job and they just don't run their companies that well. It's not illegal to be so-so at your job, and the charity isn't criminal being not being that successful or efficient.

Maybe some are actually shady operations, either embezzling donations or else lying about what they do. Ideally market forces would weed out the good ones from the bad ones and people would be given a head's up about which charities legit do what they say they'll do. There's no way to ban a charity from being crappy; you may as well make it illegal for brick and mortal stores to be losing money.

Fenring

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Re: In any other administration...
« Reply #97 on: November 15, 2019, 11:10:34 AM »
Is all you're saying that the point of the Foundation was to make Trump look good?  It's a sham because it's there to be used by Trump to "prove" or show his goodness?

If that's you're beef, you're going to have to walk me through why using a Foundation to do exactly what he could have done directly (and there's no question he could have done all these things directly, gotten tax benefits and full credit) is wrong it your world. 

What exactly are you saying that he used the Foundation to do - that he couldn't have literally just done himself - that warrants the negativity?

Yes, I would like to know this as well. It sounds as though some people here think that by using his charity to help promote his campaign through positive PR that this was somehow illegal. But how can it be illegal to create PR by donating to charity? Does that essentially mean politicians should be barred from doing charitable deeds and other nice things, because it might "influence" their election chances, which therefore makes the charitable deed a 'sham'?

TheDrake

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Re: In any other administration...
« Reply #98 on: November 15, 2019, 11:39:21 AM »
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The Foundation made real donations to real charities.

The Foundation made lots of donations to other foundations that were not operational. They were legitimate 501c, in the sense that they were also shams of the same type.

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sham - a thing that is not what it is purported to be.

The Trump foundation purported to be an organization designed to make donations to eventually wind up in operations to help a cause.

I will accept the selective enforcement argument. After looking into it more:

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Other donations made to the Trump Foundation that may have been in return for Trump's personal work include:

$400,000 from Comedy Central as payment for Trump's attendance at a celebrity roast in his honor.[50]
$150,000 from People Magazine in return for exclusive photos of Trump's son, Barron Trump.[94]
$500,000 from NBC Universal in 2012 while the network was airing Trump's show, The Apprentice.[105]
$100,000 from the family of Donna Clancy, whose family law office had been renting space at the Trump Organization's 40 Wall Street building.[104]
$100,000 in 2005 for work by Trump's wife Melania for Norwegian Cruise Lines for a segment that was later included in Trump's show, The Apprentice. A spokeswoman for the company confirmed that the appearance fee to Melania was paid in the form of a donation to the Trump Foundation.[104]

So all of those entities are also engaging in paying for Trump (the individual) to be on their programs, not Trump (the organization).

Again, a politician absolutely can do charitable things - as long as they don't mention their campaign while they are handing over the check, or making a speech about their campaign. That's separating X the candidate from X the donor. This was the Trump issue. I'm willing to be proven wrong if other politicians are doing that. But I think this is the i-dotting an t-crossing mentioned earlier. Minding the Ps and Qs is the difference between legal and illegal.

DonaldD

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Re: In any other administration...
« Reply #99 on: November 15, 2019, 11:42:36 AM »
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Clinton foundation gets a Failing grade and IMO should not be given a charity status. Less then 20% goes to actual causes.
A quick Wikipedia search suggests this is untrue.  Two different charity monitor services, Charity Navigator and CharityWatch, each gave the foundation their highest rating for governance and disbursements: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clinton_Foundation#Charity_review_sources
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In September 2016, [Charity Navigator] gave it its highest possible rating, four out of four stars, after its customary review of the Foundation's financial records and tax statements.[76] A different charity monitor, CharityWatch, said that 88% of the foundation's money goes toward its charitable mission and gave the foundation an A rating for 2016. In 2015, based on revenue of $223 million and an expense ratio of 12% the foundation spent in excess of $26 million to complete its mission.[77]
Of course, the Wikipedia entry might not be accurate, or these entities might not be on the up and up... from where did you get your information, rightleft22?