Shortly before the South Carolina Republican primary, Donald Trump very publicly skipped a presidential debate to hold a fundraising event for veterans’ groups. It is always laudable to help those who serve our nation. The problem is this: two months later, some groups are still waiting for the money.
It was back in January when Donald Trump announced he would skip the Republican presidential debate in favor of his own event in Iowa to raise money for veterans’ groups.
His announcement came shortly before primaries in states where support for veterans is, coincidentally, an important factor in elections.
So of the estimated $6 million in donations the campaign claimed was raised, how much have veterans’ groups actually seen?
Typically, foundations send letters shortly after a fundraiser informing recipients of the amount they’ll get and when they can expect to receive funds — important information for smaller, often cash-strapped organizations. But the Donald J. Trump Foundation doesn’t have any full-time staffers. And according to a recent survey of the announced recipients by the Wall Street Journal, no such letters were sent.
And some groups only received their checks after the Journal asked the Trump campaign when the money would be sent.
The Wall Street Journal attempted to contact all 22 veterans groups that were promised funds, and spoke with many of them multiple times and on Thursday with representatives from more than half to check on the status of payments. Many of the groups said they were contacted for a brief vetting before the event, asked about their overhead costs, but never told they would get money.
CNN, MSNBC, and other news outlets also joined the WSJ.
It looks like Donald Trump, as he so often does, attempted to wing it on this one. (MSNBC reported that donations for groups in Iowa and New Hampshire were put on the fast track.)
The Journal is still following the story. Last week, they published a followup:
A survey by The Wall Street Journal of 19 of the 22 groups originally listed by Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign as the prospective recipients of the funds found that they had received roughly $2.4 million of the estimated $6 million in donations the campaign said the event generated. The total received by all of the groups is likely to be more. All of the groups reported receiving checks from the Donald J. Trump Foundation or associates through the mail, and most arrived in late February in increments of $50,000 or $100,000.
See? In another one of those crazy coincidences, those checks went out shortly after the first Feb. 11th WSJ story.
We’re not implying the Trump Foundation is doing anything nefarious with these funds. In fact, we’re positive every cent will get to the intended veterans groups.
We’re only saying that reasonable people might get the idea that this fundraiser, like so much of what Donald Trump says and does, was just a convenient political prop for someone who thrives via calculated media events.
(AP Photo/Jim Mone)