Following a lengthy temper tantrum aimed at the media, Donald Trump released a list of veterans charities that were going to receive the money he claims to have raised back in January. One of those charities, Foundation for American Veterans, is known to be a scam operation.
The Foundation for American Veterans received $75,000, according to a list published by the Trump campaign. However, the foundation is known for spending very little of its money on actually helping veterans, according to CharityWatch, a charity watchdog group, who gave the foundation an “F” rating. The Foundation for American Veterans failed to meet transparency or governance benchmarks and spends just 10 cents on veterans benefits, meaning that 90 cents of every dollar Trump paid the group will go towards “Fundraising and Management & General Expenses,” according to CharityWatch.
According to a 2010 press release from the Missouri Attorney General’s office, the foundation allocated only 9 percent of its expenditures for charitable causes. A report by the Oregon attorney general’s office the previous year found that the organization had disbursed a similar level of its expenditures on charitable activities at that time as well.
Making such a mistake says more about the so-called “vetting process” Trump used to choose his designated veterans charities than anything else. The group is currently embroiled in a lawsuit with the state of Minnesota over $930,000 it raked in from state residents since 2011. The group has also been accused of using pressure tactics and fake pledge reminders to coerce predominantly older and ex-military citizens to contribute money to the charity.
“By sending fake pledge reminders, we believe they were trying to guilt people into donating money they otherwise didn’t want to donate,” Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson told the Star Tribune.
This, of course, flies in the face of statements Trump made earlier today about the vigorous vetting process charities had undergone in order to qualify for the $5.6 million he now claims he will give them. “You have to go through a process. When you send checks for hundreds of thousands of dollars to people and to companies and to groups that you’ve never heard of, charitable organizations, you have to vet it,” Trump said at a press conference at Trump Tower. “You send people out, you do a lot of work.”
The donations also raise questions about the Donald J. Trump Foundation, Trump’s nonprofit charity that may have been involved in the fundraising operation. As noted by The Washington Post, it is illegal for nonprofit organizations to take part in any political campaigns.
Photo: U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump holds paperwork which states “Donald J. Trump, Veteran Fundraiser” during a news conference at Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York, U.S., May 31, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri