• New York Times: "Russia hacked US computer networks to help Donald Trump"

  • Trump and taxes, NYT: "He has an account in China and paid his taxes there"


October 24, 2020The New York Times serial investigation into Donald Trump's tax returns also casts shadows on the president's philanthropic activity.

Since 2005, his second year as the star of the reality show The Apprentice, Trump has donated at least 130 million dollars but according to the newspaper he has hardly ever put his hand to his wallet: most of his "offers", 119.3 million. dollars, come from agreements not to develop land, in several cases after it had shelved development plans. 

Three of the agreements consist of what is known as "conservation easement," a legal maneuver common among wealthy Americans that allows landowners to maintain their use by protecting them from exploitation but receiving a tax deduction equal to their value.

A fourth deal concerns the donation of property for a state park. 

The New York prosecutor is investigating two of the first three transactions, which intends to ascertain whether the value of the donations has been inflated to obtain greater tax deductions. 

When Trump announced his campaign for the White House in 2015, he said he had donated over 102 million to charity in the previous five years.

But his tax returns from 2010 to 2014 show much lower figures: $ 753,238 in cash and $ 26.8 million in "conservation easement". 

In December 2015, after six months of electoral campaign, another such deal, worth 21.1 million dollars.

The possibility remains that the then tycoon chose not to report his donations.

It is the version of Amanda Miller, spokesperson for the Trump Organization: "President Trump gives money privately. It is impossible to know how much he has given over the years." 

From the analysis of the NYT, however, it emerges that his philanthropic promises seem to have been exaggerated or have never materialized.

In any case, the size of his commitment is greater than the donations actually declared to IRS, the tax service. 

Without forgetting that his philanthropic foundation, created in 1988, gave millions to charity which was largely other people's money: Trump paid only $ 5.4 million and his last contribution dates back to 2008. The foundation was forced to close in 2018 after the New York Attorney found that his funds were being used for Trump's personal purposes, from legal fees to the purchase of a maxi portrait of himself.