Politics

Scrooge Trump: Least Charitable Billionaire in U.S.?

| by Mark Berman Opposing Views

On his Web site, Donald Trump describes himself as an “ardent philanthropist” whose charitable activities are “an integral part of his ethos." However, an investigation by The Smoking Gun disputes that, saying Trump might be "the least charitable billionaire in the United States."

The site reports that it reviewed the IRS returns for the Donald J. Trump Foundation dating back to 1990, and it found that Trump has donated just $3.7 million of his own money to his foundation over the past 20 years (meaning he's not even the top supporter of his own foundation). The report also said his total charitable donations over that time were $6.7 million.

To put that in perspective, The Smoking Gun pointed out that fellow billionaire Michael Bloomberg gave $235 million to charity in 2009 alone. And Oracle's Larry Ellison gave his medical foundation stock worth $73.2 million in the same year.

The report said Trump isn't even the biggest contributor to his own foundation. That would be World Wrestling Entertainment, which gave it $5 million over the years. Trump has been involved in promotions with the WWE.

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The report claims that unlike his fellow rich colleagues -- and even average people -- Trump did not give any money to relief organizations following such disasters as September 11 or Hurricane Katrina, writing that "the billionaire apparently misplaced his checkbook somewhere in his triplex atop Trump Tower."

However, The Smoking Gun writes:

In 2006, Trump’s foundation did give $1,000 to the New York Rescue Workers Detoxification Fund, a controversial Scientology program (co-founded by Tom Cruise) that promoted a “purification rundown” for firemen and others who inhaled toxins while working near the smoldering remains of the World Trade Center.

The IRS forms show Trump's foundation gave away nearly a million dollars in 2009, the largest being $156,000 to New York City's Police Athletic League -- Trump sits on the group's board of directors.

The report does not include any comments from Trump, who is likely to dispute parts of it. Either way, Trump will have a lot of explaining to do if he decides to run for president, as he has been threatening to do in recent weeks. As soon as he gets back from his fact-finding mission in Hawaii.