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Report: Donald Trump had businesses pay tax-exempt charity $2.3 million owed to him

Donald Trump gestures as he speaks during the first debate. 

REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Donald Trump told companies that owed him or one of his businesses money to pay the businessman’s foundation instead, according to The Washington Post.

In such cases, Trump would be required to pay income tax, the Post says. Trump’s charitable foundation received about $2.3 million, the report said. One of the donations, the Post said, was $400,000 from Comedy Central and Trump paid income tax on it.

A man named Richard Ebers, who bought goods and services from Trump or his businesses, gave the foundation payments that totaled nearly $1.9 million, the report said, but the Trump campaign did not respond to questions about other donations. The Post quoted one Trump adviser who said Trump didn’t knowingly violate any tax laws.

The Post said laws exist that are intended to stop charity leaders from diverting income to a charity when it should be taxed. It also reported that Trump’s attorney has said that Trump adheres to guidelines set by a 1942 court case, which indicates that he would not have to pay taxes on income he sends on to charities if he does not have any control over where the donated funds go. The campaign did not respond to the Post’s questions about Trump’s treatment of the Ebers funds. 

For months, the Post has been reporting on the Trump Foundation’s activities. It reported last week that Trump used his charitable foundation to settle lawsuits that involved his businesses, spending more than $250,000 from the Trump Foundation over the last decade.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman recently revealed that his office is investigating the Trump Foundation’s activities to see if it violated state law.

Schneiderman explained that the initial line of inquiry involved the breaking of tax laws by his foundation when it made a $25,000 political contribution to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. The Washington Post recently reported that the Trump might have also violated IRS rules by spending his nonprofit’s money to buy a $20,000 portrait of himself and a $12,000 autographed football helmet.

  • Rebecca Shabad

    Rebecca Shabad is a video reporter for CBS News Digital.