It looks like the charity scandal apple doesn’t fall far from the tree in the Trump family, as Eric Trump is under fire for his own Eric Trump Foundation’s seeming inability to follow IRS rules for charities.
Chief among the problems is widespread conflict of interest, as the foundation regularly makes donations to pet projects and groups favored by board members. The group also has a tendency to spend money with companies owned by those board members. The Eric Trump Foundation been accused of using fundraisers to charge people for access to the Trump family, something which is especially concerning now that Donald Trump is president-elect, and Eric Trump has a history of inflating how much money the organization has raised. There are even rules that ensure Eric will be the chairman as long as he stays on the board, and that any children he might have are guaranteed spots on the board.
So what’s the big deal? For one, nonprofit boards are supposed to represent the public and its stake in the group, but the Eric Trump Foundation is run by millionaire friends of the family. Furthermore, while this organization, unlike his father’s, actually does donate money to good causes—primarily St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital—it seems pretty obvious that this is a positive side effect of an organization primarily geared toward helping the Trumps improve their own position.
But nonprofits are supposed to exist to help alleviate social problems and improve the lives of others, not of the people who founded them. It’s one thing to draw a reasonable salary from a nonprofit for which one works, but using a charitable foundation to get rich people to pay handsomely in order to meet you and do business? That is clearly not within IRS guidelines.