I don’t know how I missed the fact that Annette Bosworth’s former spinster turned quasi-fink Joel Arends won a seat on the Lincoln County Commission last month. Seriously, Lincoln County, are you that short on talent? But seeing Arends prepping to work in government reminds me of the last time we talked about the Sioux Falls lawyer, when he used his fake veterans group in September 2015 to help Donald Trump get elected. Republicans who usually support veterans ignored Arends’s and Trump’s exploitation of veterans for his personal and political gain.
Might true supporters of veterans take more notice of Trump’s scammery now that the New York Attorney General has successfully pressed the Trumps to dissolve Donald’s faux foundation?
Let’s rewind to January 2016, when Trump was skipping a GOP debate in Iowa to make money off veterans:
Given what we, and now you, know about the pervasiveness of veteran charity scams, we dug into the spending and expense history of his charity, the Donald J. Trump Foundation. In particular, we questioned whether Trump’s political motives and false rhetoric about veterans truly set him apart at all from the various charity scams. Perhaps unbeknownst to his supporters and eager donors who ventured to his event last night, Donald Trump’s charity has donated virtually nothing to veterans’ charities.
Most tellingly, according to the available 990s from 2009 to 2014, of the more than $5 million the foundation has donated in gifts and grants to nearly 300 charities, only seven of those organizations were related to veterans issues. According to these documents, he has not donated to any veterans’ charities in the past three years. In total, these seven organizations have only received $57,000.
(Update: According to the Federalist, the proceeds from last night’s events are not going directly to any veteran charities, rather they will be funneled into Trump’s foundation. If true, it has yet to be seen how or whether those donations will be delivered to veterans’ charities, the delivery of which is at the discretion of the foundation [Shafaq Hasan, “Did Trump Exploit Veterans Again in Event to Draw Supporters, Candidates Away from GOP Debate?” Nonprofit Quarterly, 2016.01.29].
That Des Moines Trump event was part of the New York A.G.’s suit that brought down the Trump Foundation:
According to the petition, the event generated about $5.6 million in tax-free donations, and of that, $2.823 million was contributed to the Trump Foundation. The remainder was given directly by private donors to veterans’ charity groups and was not funneled through the foundation.
The lawsuit says that after the fundraiser, the Trump Foundation “ceded control over the charitable funds it raised to senior Trump campaign staff, who dictated the manner in which the Foundation would disburse those proceeds, directing the timing, amounts and recipients of the grants” [Brianne Pfannenstiel, “Des Moines Fundraiser at Center of New York Lawsuit Against Donald Trump, His Foundation,” Des Moines Register, 2018.06.14].
Trump supposedly helped Arends raise money for his fake non-profit at the USS Iowa sideshow in 2015. How much of that haul actually went to veterans, and how much went into the pockets of the showrunners, including Lincoln County Commissioner-Elect Joel Arends?