Donald Trump Reportedly Bought a Tim Tebow-Signed Helmet With Charity Money

July 1, 2016, 4:44 PM UTC
Divisional Playoffs - Denver Broncos v New England Patriots
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Donald Trump reportedly paid $12,000 at a charity auction four years ago to win a Tim Tebow-signed Denver Broncos helmet. But the cash, which was donated to the Susan G. Komen Organization, didn’t come from Trump’s own checkbook. It came from the Donald J. Trump Foundation.

What was cheered as a generous donation from a billionaire was a withdrawal from his own charity, according to the Washington Post which reviewed his charitable giving. The Post’s report says Trump didn’t use any of his own money to pay for the live auction win. Instead it came out of his foundation that was itself primarily funded by other people’s money.

At the time, Trump had not actually put any of his own money into the foundation for the three years prior, according to a previous Post report.

The purchase could violate rules related to private foundations that ban the “furnishing of goods” to officers within the organization. In cases such as these, any person who violates the ban is supposed to report it to the Internal Revenue Service and could be on the hook for a tax penalty. A foundation should also indicate such an outlay in tax returns, and a failure to do so could result in even more penalties. However, Trump’s foundation never reported such a purchase that year, according to the Post.


Any misdeed depends on what happened to that helmet. If Trump kept it, then the foundation would have been in violation of the ban. However, if the helmet was given to yet another charity to be auctioned off for funds, then such a purchase could sneak past such strictures. So far, the Washington Post hasn’t confirmed exactly what happened to it.

Fortune has reached out to the Trump campaign and will update this story if we receive a response.

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