ALBANY — The Donald J. Trump Foundation gave away $158,250 in 2014 to fight cancer and other diseases, many of which target children, and donated $141,000 to groups that promote conservative social policy he would espouse in his presidential campaign a year later, state and federal records show.
After those two biggest groups of recipients, the Trump Foundation also gave $50,000 to Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School in Manhattan, which his son attended, and $5,000 to one other school, a public high school in Florida with mostly African-American students; $41,000 split between two Jewish causes; $20,000 split among three veterans groups, and $5,000 to an environmental group that combats global warming, according to the foundation’s federal tax return filed with the state Charities Bureau.
The Trump Foundation became a campaign issue after Trump made a donation he later rescinded, which supported the Florida attorney general’s campaign before she decided to opt out of an investigation of Trump’s business seminars called Trump University. Democrats are calling for an investigation, alleging it was a pay-to-play scheme. The Washington Post in a story also questioned the foundation’s spending.
Last week, New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman said he was looking at Trump’s foundation “to make sure it’s complying with the laws governing charities in New York.” Trump spokesman Jason Miller called Schneiderman “a partisan hack who has turned a blind eye to the Clinton foundation for years and has endorsed Hillary Clinton.”
In all, the foundation contributed $591,450 to 53 charities in 2014 at a time Trump said he was worth more than $10 billion. The full amount of Trump’s charitable donations isn’t known because he has refused to release his personal income tax returns, despite a tradition for presidential candidates to do so. Trump has said his taxes are being audited.
Trump’s allocations as president of the foundation with net assets of $1.3 million is a glimpse at the amount of his philanthropy as well as his priorities in making charitable donations.
According state and federal records, the Trump Foundation’s biggest single donation — $100,000 — in 2014 went to the conservative Citizens United Foundation. That foundation supports the Citizens United think tank, which mounted a lawsuit in which a U.S. Supreme Court ruling allowed greater funding in political campaigns by big-money donors and special interests.
Records show other donations to policy groups include $25,000 to the American Spectator Foundation, $6,000 to The Economic Club of Washington, D.C., a business group; and $10,000 to The Family Leader Foundation in Iowa, which states on its website that it opposes divorce, gambling and “distortion of sexuality or special rights for those who practice distorted sexual behavior.”
“Trump was already committed to running in 2014,” said Michael D’Antonio, author of “Never Enough . . . Donald Trump and his Pursuit of Success,” published in 2015. “I think the big donations to right wing groups were made with this in mind. . . . I know a couple of philanthropic billionaires and Trump’s pattern doesn’t match theirs. Others give much more and with the idea of having long-lasting impact.”
Compared with the Trump Foundation’s $581,450 in giving, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s family foundation donated $148 million that year, according to its tax return. The Bloomberg Family Foundation supports gun control, antismoking campaigns and other policies Bloomberg pushed as mayor. The foundation’s donations included $11 million to an education reform group and $15 million for the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids.
The Clinton Foundation, of which Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton is a principal, spent more than $217 million in direct program services worldwide that year, according to its report. Hillary Clinton has come under criticism because the foundation accepted millions of dollars from seven foreign governments during her tenure as secretary of state.
Neither Trump’s campaign nor his company responded to requests for comment.
In June, the Trump Foundation, under pressure from Schneiderman, rescinded its $25,000 donation to a political group in 2013 that backed the Florida attorney general, according to letters from the Trump Foundation provided by the attorney general. The Florida attorney general, Pam Bondi, was directly funded by the group. At that time, she declined to join Schneiderman and other state attorneys general in suing Trump University on allegations of fraud.
Under New York State law, charities are prohibited from making contributions that go directly or indirectly to individual candidates, but contributions to organizations that push for conservative ideals, such as Citizens United, are permitted.
Other contributions included $57,700 to youth athletic programs, $10,000 for orphaned and disadvantaged children in Latin America; $5,000 to a women’s shelter in New York, and $5,000 to a dog-adoption organization in Florida.
The Trump Foundation’s $591,450 in philanthropy in 2014 — the most recent year available — was far less than in the two previous years. The foundation donated $918,380 the year before, including $50,000 to the American Conservative Union, $100,000 to retired pro golfer Jack Nicklaus’ charity for children and $115,000 for Fidelity Investments Charitable Gift.
In 2012, the Trump Foundation donated $1.7 million, including $100,000 to Citizens United Research in Epilepsy, $63,000 to the American Heart Association and $50,000 to the Upper West Side school one of his children had attended.