Trump settled legal claims against his businesses by using $258,000 from his charity — you’re not voting for crooks and liars, right?

❝ Donald Trump spent more than a quarter-million dollars from his charitable foundation to settle lawsuits that involved the billionaire’s for-profit businesses…

Those cases, which together used $258,000 from Trump’s charity, were among four newly documented expenditures in which Trump may have violated laws against “self-dealing” — which prohibit nonprofit leaders from using charity money to benefit themselves or their businesses.

❝ If the Internal Revenue Service were to find that Trump violated self-dealing rules, the agency could require him to pay penalty taxes or to reimburse the foundation for all the money it spent on his behalf. Trump is also facing scrutiny from the office of the New York attorney general, which is examining whether the foundation broke state charity laws.

More broadly, these cases also provide new evidence that Trump ran his charity in a way that may have violated U.S. tax law and gone against the moral conventions of philanthropy.

❝ “I represent 700 nonprofits a year, and I’ve never encountered anything so brazen,” said Jeffrey Tenenbaum, who advises charities at the Venable law firm in Washington. After The Post described the details of these Trump Foundation gifts, Tenenbaum described them as “really shocking.”

“If he’s using other people’s money — run through his foundation — to satisfy his personal obligations, then that’s about as blatant an example of self-dealing [as] I’ve seen in a while,” Tenenbaum said.

❝ The Post sent the Trump campaign a detailed list of questions about the four cases, but received no response.

No doubt there will be a new lie to answer to the newest charges,

Plenty of folks say they’re voting for Trump as a protest against the crooks and liars in Washington, DC. What’s the difference between a government crook and a business crook?

Feds barred from prosecuting medical marijuana cases

A federal appeals court has banned the Justice Department from prosecuting medical marijuana cases if no state laws were broken.

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ordered the federal agency to show that 10 pending cases in California and Washington state violated medical marijuana laws in those states before continuing with prosecutions…

Marijuana remains illegal under federal law, but Congress has barred the Justice Department from spending money to prevent states from regulating the use or sale of medical pot.

Federal prosecutors argued unsuccessfully that Congress meant only to bar the department from taking legal action against states and that it could still prosecute individuals who violate federal marijuana laws. The court rejected that, saying that medical marijuana-based prosecutions prevent the states from giving full effect to their own measures…

Federal prosecutors could ask the 9th Circuit to reconsider the case or petition the U.S. Supreme Court to take up the issue. Justice Department spokesman Peter Carr said officials are still reviewing the decision.

Marijuana activists and lawyers representing medical pot suppliers say the ruling is a significant addition to the growing support for broad legalization of the drug. Marijuana is legal for medicinal or recreational use in 25 states and the District of Columbia. In addition, ten states have marijuana legalizations measures on the November ballot…

Hey, it’s a HUGE election year. So, we have at least four choices among the two old parties: Liberals who support freedom to choose to partake of Freedom Weed; Liberals who fear the religious conservatives in their district and will cop out as usual; Conservatives enlightened sufficiently to consult scientists and physicians on matters of the Demon Weed; Conservatives in bed with every demented religious fundamentalist who promises to deliver a churchload of votes – and forgiveness for decades of corruption and fraud.

Hypocrite Louisiana Republicans demand flood aid — voted against Hurricane Sandy relief for the Northeast


Steve Scalise, Republican hypocrite-in-chiefAP

Call it logrolling or one hand washing the other, a generally recognized fact in Washington is that if you want something for your district, it pays to agree to the same thing for another guy’s district.

That point may have been lost on three Louisiana congressmen when they voted against a $50.5-billion relief package for the victims of Superstorm Sandy. The 2012 storm ravaged coastal communities in New Jersey and New York. Now they’re in the position of needing the same sort of aid for their own state. How will that play out?

The three lawmakers, all Republicans, are Rep. Steve Scalise (currently the House majority whip); Bill Cassidy, who moved up to the Senate last year; and John Fleming. They’re all likely exemplars of another Washington truism: fiscal responsibility is great, until it’s your own district that’s getting fiscally hammered. Then Job One becomes working to “help the residents of the threatened areas in their time of need.”…

No one is saying that the flood-stricken communities of Louisiana don’t deserve all the assistance that the U.S. government can provide them. But so did the residents of the Sandy zone.

Indeed, the funds made available through the emergency declaration are likely to be a drop in the bucket compared to what ultimately will be needed in Louisiana. FEMA will spend several million dollars on emergency housing and other aid. But the final toll could be well into the tens of billions. Initial estimates in Baton Rouge, covering about half of the parishes hit by the flooding, are that 110,000 homes worth a total $20 billion have been damaged. Business losses and reconstruction costs will come to much more.

These are the categories covered by the Sandy appropriation that Louisiana’s lawmakers voted down.

I’m waiting for the Republican Party to claim a patent on hypocrisy. They surely own it in practice.

The world’s 25 largest military budgets

The second best example of the invention of political correctness by American conservatives in the 1940’s. The War Department became the Department of Defense [1947/1949 in a couple of steps]. The military budget became the defense budget. Lying hypocrites rule American politics.

The best example? “In God We Trust” – which including adding “under God” to the American pledge of allegiance [1956/1957]. Again, the lead-in to full-blown rightwing domination of populist ideology in this nation in the 1940’s. Courtesy of the Republican Senator from Wisconsin, Joe McCarthy.

I don’t recall anyone since – in the Democratic Party – trying to reverse this political correctness, in the decades since their institutionalizing.

Thanks, Barry Ritholtz