Spencer Platt/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — As a candidate, Donald Trump led the charge against the Clinton Foundation over what he called “corruption.” Now his own foundation is admitting wrongdoing.
The Donald J. Trump Foundation concedes it gave “income or assets” to a “disqualified person” — a prohibited practice known as “self-dealing” — according to a new 2015 tax filing obtained by ABC News and first reported by the Washington Post.
The document, known as a 990 form, asks if the foundation 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.’
By checking the box in the latest IRS tax filing, the Trump Foundation effectively concedes to “self-dealing,” which the IRS prohibits, Daniel Borochoff, with Charity Watch, tells ABC News.
The document also says: “Did the foundation engage in a prior year in any of the acts described in 1a, other than expected acts, that were not corrected before the first day of the tax year beginning in 2015?” The foundation checked ‘Yes.’
“He’s admitting that in prior years he also engaged” in self-dealing, Borochoff said.
It’s not clear from the filing how much or to whom the funds were given. It’s also uncertain whether the reporting will trigger an IRS investigation or penalty.
While the details of the offenses were not included on the form the Trump Foundation has been under investigation by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to determine whether any donor money had been used to pay for company expenses. That investigation continues.
The Trump campaign agreed to comply with the cease and desist letter alleging the charity lacked proper certification sent by the Attorney General’s office in October and made no other comment.
For charitable organizations, a “disqualified person” is defined as “any person who was in a position to exercise substantial influence over the affairs of the applicable tax-exempt organization” during a specified time period, the IRS says. That person can be a substantial contributor to the charity or a foundation manager, for instance, according to the agency.
Self-dealing is an IRS violation that is punishable by excise taxes or other penalties. Regulations against it were designed to keep “the trustees themselves, certain family members, managers, and other “disqualified persons” from benefiting from the philanthropic activities of the foundation,” according to the National Center for Family Philanthropy.
A source familiar with Trump’s previous disclosures believes the foundation is being more forthcoming because of increased scrutiny from the New York Attorney General’s office, the press and the public.
A spokesperson for GuideStar — a website that advocates transparency in philanthropy — confirms to ABC News that the forms were uploaded by the Trump Foundation’s law firm, Morgan, Lewis and Bockius.
The IRS declined to confirm they received the document in question, telling ABC News “federal law prohibits the IRS from commenting or discussing any particular taxpayer situation.”
Representatives for Donald Trump have not responded to request for comment.
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