Was Trump Foundation’s Political Donation Intentional?

The IRS clearly states that charity organizations are “absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign.”

A brewing controversy involves one of today’s most recognizable names potentially breaking this cardinal rule. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) requested that the IRS undertake an investigation into a gift made by the Trump Foundation to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi.

If CREW’s hunch is correct, Donald Trump’s namesake foundation may have made a colossal misstep by gifting $25,000 to a group supporting Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi in 2013. The donation arrived in the same week that Bondi began investigating charges of fraud at Trump University – the now defunct educational enterprise of Trump and current hot topic of debate in the Republican presidential race. Trump’s opponents have pointed to the failed endeavor as an emblematic case of the candidate’s disastrous business record and potentially fraudulent practices.

Trump has chalked up the donation as a clerical error, in which Bondi’s political support organization – And Justice For All – received a check that was designated for a Utah-based nonprofit of the same name. To further complicate the situation, the gift was listed as going to yet another organization – a Kansas-based pro-life nonprofit called Justice for All – in the Trump Foundation’s 990.

The coincide, however, is quite staggering. Bondi ultimately dropped the investigation into Trump University, and has since endorsed the real-estate mogul and front-runner for the Republican presidential candidacy.

CREW Communications Director Jordan Libowitz remarked that “there’s so much going on here that the IRS really needs to investigate and find out where the truth was.”

Key Elements Group will cover the developments relating to Donald Trump and the political donation his foundation made as CREW continues to lobby for an investigation and the presidential race brings more candidate controversies to the national discourse.

Philadelphia, the Democratic National Convention, and the Nonprofit Sector

On January 14, the Republican Party announced that its 2016 national convention will take place at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. The Democratic Party has narrowed its field down to three contenders, including Columbus, New York City, and Philadelphia.

The event is no small matter. Conventions during the 2012 election cycle – Tampa Bay for Republicans and Charlotte for Democrats – attracted tens of thousands of people to the two host cities, along with a flush of consumer spending.

Pundits and academics debate the economic benefits of hosting the convention. The National Journal cited one study in 2012 that claims that the financial gain is minimal. The reality most likely rests somewhere in between the wildly optimistic projections of city officials and the reductive conjecture of one study that trades causality for correlation; cities enjoy both an injection of spending as well as intangible rewards, including the the elevation of the city’s cultural brand.

Should the Democratic Party pick Philadelphia, the benefits would be manifold. The influx of civic-minded delegates – energized by the democratic process – would be drawn toward one of the highest concentrations of U.S. cultural treasures and symbols in the entire country. In turn, the city’s world-class cultural institutions and performing arts community would undoubtedly benefit from the uptick of visitors, especially convention delegates habituated to the giving culture inherent to political activity.

The list of Philadelphia’s historical offerings is extensive; the city boasts the Liberty Bell, the Constitution Center, Independence Hall, Betsy Ross’ House, and the entirety of the Independence National Historical Park.

The arts are similarly well-represented. Philadelphia is third in the nation for per capita spending on the arts. From the iconic Philadelphia Museum of Art to the unparalleled Barnes Foundation; the internationally renowned Philadelphia Orchestra to the ever-innovative Philly POPs; the options for arts and cultural performances are as abundant as the talent pool is deep.

In choosing Philadelphia, the Democratic Party would provide their delegates and other convention-related visitors with an unforgettable experience, and the city’s institutions would enjoy both short-term and longterm profits.

The immediate financial rewards, of course, would contribute further to a rebounding economy and a growing nonprofit sector. In the wake of the recession, nonprofits are recovering at a faster rate than the private sector. Philadelphia’s arts nonprofit community alone employs over 44,000 people, who would stand to gain from the inflow of ticket-buying delegates from across the county.

Additionally, the national stage would elevate Philadelphia’s status as a U.S. cultural center. In cultivating national interest, the convention would entice future visitors. The city’s institutions can further profit from the satisfied patronage of philanthropic delegates, potentially creating a new wellspring of fundraising prospects.

Philadelphia is the logical choice for the 2016 Democratic National Convention. Nonprofits should look forward to sharing their mission and goals with U.S. citizens from every corner of the nation, and anticipate ways to educate, entertain, and grow during the convention weekend.

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