Trump Foundation Admits to Violating “Self-Dealing” Rules

Days after the president-elect settled his Trump University lawsuits for $25 million.

Andrew Milligan/PA Wire/ZUMA

Donald Trump’s charitable foundation has admitted to violating an IRS ban “self-dealing,” the Washington Post reported on Tuesday. The rules prohibit leaders of non-profit organizations from using funds to benefit a “disqualified” person, which can include the president-elect himself, members of his family, or their private business interests.

The news comes just days after Trump agreed to pay $25 million to settle several fraud lawsuits related to Trump University.

The new admission was uncovered in the foundation’s newest IRS filings, which were posted online on Monday by a nonprofit tracking site, GuideStar.

Throughout his campaign, Trump was dogged by accusations that he used his philanthropic organization to pay off business obligations, settle lawsuits, and even purchase a 6-foot-tall painting of himself.

On Monday, Trump’s lawyers promised that the Trump Foundation would not use its funds to help pay for the $25 million Trump University settlement.


The more we thought about how MoJo's journalism can have the most impact heading into the 2020 election, the more we realized that so many of today's stories come down to corruption: democracy and the rule of law being undermined by the wealthy and powerful for their own gain.

So we're launching a new Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption. We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We'll publish what we find as a major series in the summer of 2020, including a special issue of our magazine, a dedicated online portal, and video and podcast series so it doesn't get lost in the daily deluge of breaking news.

It's unlike anything we've done before and we've got seed funding to get started, but we're asking readers to help crowdfund this new beat with an additional $500,000 so we can go even bigger. You can read why we're taking this approach and what we want to accomplish in "Corruption Isn't Just Another Scandal. It's the Rot Beneath All of Them," and if you like how it sounds, please help fund it with a tax-deductible donation today.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.