There has been plenty of talk about presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump’s finances during his bid for president, and a new Washington Post report speculates that he violated IRS rules by using a charity’s money to buy himself football memorabilia.
Trump allegedly got into a bidding war at a Florida fundraiser in 2012 over a football jersey and a helmet signed by Tim Tebow, who was then quarterback of the Denver Broncos. He ultimately bought the items for $12,000.
“The Donald giveth, and The Donald payeth … Blessed be the name of The Donald,” the Palm Beach Daily News reported at the time regarding his generous donation.
However, the Susan G. Komen organization didn’t get a personal check for the NFL memorabilia. Trump instead signed for the items from his own non-profit, the Donald J. Trump Foundation, according to the Post.
Trump founded the charity in 1987, largely with other people’s money, and installed himself as president. However, at the time of the auction, he reportedly hadn’t given any of his own money to it for three years running.
The topic of the Tebow auction scandal arose this week when the Washington Post analyzed Trump’s charitable donations (or lack thereof) over recent years. The newspaper then had tax law experts weigh in on whether he violated IRS rules that ban the “furnishing of goods” by private foundations to their own officers with his extravagant splurge.
If the rule is broken, the violator must notify the IRS and may have to pay a tax penalty. There could also be penalties for signing a tax return that fails to mention the violation. In 2012, the tax return for Trump’s foundation checked boxes for “no” indicating it did not break the self-dealing rule.
However, if the Tebow helmet and jersey are still in Trump’s possession and on display, that might be deemed improper by the IRS. The issue gets even more complex depending whether he gave the items to a friend as a gift or donated them as a charitable activity.
Either way, his once-prized possession dipped in value almost instantly. The night Trump made the purchase — Jan. 14, 2012 — Tebowmania in Denver was delivered a crushing blow when the Broncos were routed 45-10 by the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game.
Tebow was then traded to make room for Peyton Manning — whom Trump has since described as a friend and “a very good guy” — and only played one more full season in the NFL.
The same kind of autographed helmet and jersey that Trump bought for $12,000 are now available for about $415, total, online, the Post revealed.