Oct 19th, 2017
Trump golf course's charitable giving claims under scrutiny
As more evidence of Presidential bragging emerges
President Trump has always bigged-up his record of charitable giving, but these philanthropic boasts have not always stood up to scrutiny. And now the charitable-giving claims of one of his golf courses are being challenged.
The Washington Post has thoroughly documented those boasts of philanthropy, and now NPR (National Public Radio) in the US has taken a closer look at the charitable-giving claims made by a Trump property, the Trump National Golf Club, Los Angeles.
They found that the golf club's charitable giving claims have followed a familiar pattern, by falling far short of what the organization claimed.
The club declared on its website this summer: "We are proud to have provided $5 million to the following charitable causes since our opening." It then listed nearly 200 recipients.
Trump National, Los Angeles - lovely stuff
NPR's Embedded podcast and conflicts-of-interest team spent weeks combing through the list to verify the assertions. NPR also called and emailed dozens of organizations to find out whether they have a record of a donation from Trump National Golf Club, the Trump Organization or VH Property Corp., the LLC that technically owns the golf course.
The outcome of all their work, as the conclusion that the club's donations had actually fallen well short of $5 million and were much closer to $800,000.
NPR then repeatedly contacted the Trump Organization and the golf club manager, sending questions via phone calls, emails, letters and a fax message, but without response.
However, a month after NPR started reporting, the Trump Organization took down the list of organizations from its website and removed the claim about having donated $5 million.
NPR did confirm that the club had made charitable donations. The discrepancies involve the amounts of gifts and numbers of recipients.
Through interviews and examinations of publicly available documents, this is what NPR found:
Seventeen organizations listed on the Trump National website said that they could not find any record of a donation from the golf club
Several organizations listed on the website are not charities at all. The list includes a city government, a state agency and a branch of the U.S. military
Most organizations received small contributions from the golf club, including donations of $140. Most of the contributions to organizations on the list were not in the form of cash but in-kind donations, like a gift certificate for a round of golf or "Sunday brunch for two."
Ultimately, NPR was able to confirm only about $800,000 in donations, less than one-fifth of what was claimed.
Well done to NPR for all the digging. We don’t like seeing golf being bought into disrepute, and they’ve done a fine job shedding light on Trump's philanthropic bragging.
Trump National, Los Angeles - more lovely stuff