NEW YORK, Sept. 6 (UPI) — Donald Trump brushed off questions about a fine from the IRS he paid over a $25,000 donation his charitable organization made to Florida Attorney General Pamela Bondi days before Bondi announced her office would not join lawsuits against Trump University.
The Internal Revenue Service fined the Trump Organization $2,500 over the matter, saying it never reported the donation and violated federal law prohibiting tax-free charities from making political donations. The Trump Organization did disclose a $25,000 donation to another group with a similar name to the one supporting Bondi.
Trump’s spokeswoman told NBC News the infraction was a “minor” oversight and corrected by officials at the Trump Organization after the IRS made them aware of it.
“This was a minor issue that was brought to the attention of the foundation and addressed immediately,” spokeswoman Hope Hicks said in a statement, confirming the fine.
Trump reimbursed his charity for the full $25,000 donation.
The Washington Post reports the donation to Bondi came four days after it was made public her office was considering joining a lawsuit filed by the New York attorney general against Trump University, which the state alleges ripped off attendees, some of whom paid tens of thousands to attend real estate seminars that would up being worthless.
Bondi’s office ultimately declined to join New York’s lawsuit.
In March, Trump told the Post the donation emanated from a filing error by an employee. Trump said the individual misidentified the pro-Bondi group And Justice For All as a charity with a similar name and processed the donation through his charitable organization rather than from Trump’s personal account.
Trump has defended the real estate seminars at the heart of the accusations, saying the vast majority of those who attended Trump University left satisfied and many have gone on to success in real estate as a result of what they learned. Some former students who have joined a class action suit against Trump, which is being litigated along with New York’s lawsuit, said they paid thousands and were promised insider tips and secrets from Trump acolytes. Instead they were given basic tutorials from individuals who had never met Trump.
Trump was asked about the donation during a press conference Monday and said there was no impropriety, only a misidentified donation.
“I’ve just known Pam Bondi for years. I have a lot of respect for her. Never spoke to her about that at all. And just have a lot of respect for her as a person. And she has done an amazing job as the attorney general of Florida. She is very popular,” Trump said.
Trump’s opponent Hillary Clinton, was asked about the matter at a press conference Monday and said she was “taken aback.”
Clinton has faced criticism from Trump over her own family’s charitable organization and donations from individuals who had business before the State Department while she was secretary.
“There’s so many things that are questionable about that and the IRS certainly thought so and said it was illegal and fined Trump for that set of facts,” she said.