Donald Trump: How Charitable Is He Really?
Despite his reputation for being an "ardent philanthropist," Donald Trump was recently called out for being less than charitable, especially in light of the recent extravagence he said is possible for a potential 2012 presidential campaign.
In March, Donald Trump casually mentioned in an appearance on ABC's "Good Morning America" that he could, if necessary, "put $600 million" on himself to fund a run for president. And while he has used public venues like the Miss USA pageant and his reality television show "Celebrity Apprentice" to highlight his philanthropic nature, his actual charitable donations have been difficult to track.
Investigative website The Smoking Gun took a look at tax returns for Trump's foundation and wondered aloud whether Trump "may be the least charitable billionaire in the United States."
Estimated to be worth upwards of $2 billion by Forbes magazine in 2010, Trump was found to have personally contributed less than $3.7 million, or .2 percent of his net worth, to his own charitable organization over the last 20 years. The Trump foundation, in turn, has made charitable donations of only $6.7 million over those same 20 years.
The Smoking Gun said that in comparison, (also according to tax returns) fellow New York billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg gave away $235 million in charitable donations in 2008 alone.
But to be fair, the Christian Science Monitor noted that The Donald likely has other methods of spreading his wealth, ones that "don't have 'Donald J. Trump' slapped on their letterhead."
At least one of those methods is through campaign contributions. While Trump seems to have spent relatively little on his own foundation, he has in the last 20 years contributed money to 96 candidates running for federal political office, according to a report by the Center for Responsive Politics. The report showed, in fact, that Trump "has been a prolific donor to both Democrats and Republicans during the last two decades."
Trump has spent a total of nearly $420,000 on political contributions since 1990, and of the 10 candidates Trump has most generously supported, six were Democrats and four were Republicans at the time of contribution.