Thursday, August 22, 2019
And he had the nerve to call Clinton crooked
President Donald Trump has filed financial disclosure statements that appear to misstate the value and profitability of his Scotland golf courses by $165 million, possibly violating federal laws that are punishable by jail time.
Trump claimed in his 2018 U.S. filing that his Turnberry and Aberdeen resorts were each worth more than $50 million. For that same time period, he filed balance sheets with the United Kingdom government showing that their combined debt exceeded their assets by 47.9 million British pounds ― the equivalent of $64.8 million at the exchange rate on Dec. 31, 2017, the date of the last U.K. filing available.
His 2018 “public financial disclosure” filed with the U.S. Office of Government Ethics also claims those two resorts earned him “income” of $23.8 million. His filings with the U.K. Companies House office in Edinburgh for that period showed the resorts had actually lost 4.6 million pounds ― equal to $6.3 million.
His U.S. disclosure statement also fails to mention $199.5 million in loans Trump has made to those resorts: $54.9 million from him personally to Trump International, Scotland in Aberdeenshire; $144.6 million from his trust to Trump Turnberry in Ayrshire.
Knowingly providing false or incomplete information on that form is a violation of the Ethics in Government Act punishable by up to a year in jail. Signing the form attesting to the untrue information constitutes making a false statement, punishable by up to five years in prison.
“The numbers don’t appear to add up,” said Virginia Canter, an ethics law expert with Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. She added, though, that OGE regulations give filers a fair amount of latitude in determining asset value. “That said, it’s not at all clear after reviewing the U.K. balance sheet for Aberdeen how they came to $50 million. … I think it raises legitimate questions.”
Yeah, yeah. No big deal. Yet another possible criminal act by the president of the United States. Republicans are all fine with it. He could shoot someone on 5th avenue ...
Early Tuesday evening, after this article was published and days after HuffPost first sought comment, the Trump Organization, his family business that operates the resorts, responded through Chief Legal Officer Alan Garten, who said the two sets of statements are filed under different accounting and legal standards. “As a result, while both filings provide financial information, the filings each have distinct reporting requirements and standards. Thus, the two filings cannot and should not be compared,” Garten wrote in an email.
He did not respond to follow-up questions about the widely divergent claims regarding assets and income and why Trump failed to disclose the two loans.
The story goes on to report some of the other financial crimes Trump is credibly accused of committing over the years. But this is happening right now, while he's in the White House:
Trump’s golf courses in Scotland and Ireland offer unique insights into the state of Trump’s businesses because they are required to submit detailed financial documents annually, even though they are privately held. In the United States, where the vast majority of Trump’s businesses are located, there is no such disclosure requirement ― meaning there is no straightforward way of determining whether Trump has similarly misstated the asset value and profitability of his U.S. properties.
Americans would have a clearer understanding of the actual financial health of Trump’s businesses had he kept his initial promise to release his tax returns if he ran for president. But Trump reneged on that pledge almost immediately after entering the race. At first he claimed he would release the returns after “routine audits” had been completed, before eventually arguing that Americans had voted for him anyway and that they were not interested in seeing his taxes. In doing so, he became the first major-party nominee since Watergate to fail to disclose his returns.
Trump’s supposed great wealth was a major selling point for him during his campaign in the Republican primaries. Weeks after entering the race in June 2015, Trump declared in a press release that his net worth was “in excess of TEN BILLION DOLLARS.” In a recent speech, he claimed the presidency was forcing him to lose billions: “It’s probably costing me from three to five billion,” he told workers at a petrochemical plant in western Pennsylvania last week. “I don’t care. I want to do the right job.”
Both of those assertions are almost certainly false.
In the 2005 book TrumpNation, business journalist Timothy L. O’Brien wrote that Trump was most likely worth no more than $250 million, not the many billions of dollars he was claiming at the time. Trump sued him for defamation, but lost ― and in the process lied dozens of times about his business dealings in a deposition taken by O’Brien’s lawyers.
In 2015, National Journal found that Trump had made so many poor business decisions over the years that had he simply taken the fortune his father placed him in charge of in 1974 and put it into a broad index fund, he would have been far wealthier than he wound up.
Despite those and a great deal of other published reports that detailed his multiple casino bankruptcies and poor track record in business, Republican voters chose to support him anyway.
Rick Tyler, who worked for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s campaign in the 2016 GOP presidential primaries, said Republican voters were not paying attention to news coverage that picked apart Trump’s creation myth. “His ostentatious opulence and his willingness to flaunt it led many Republicans to believe that he possessed the business acumen needed to straighten out Washington,” Tyler said. “Republicans should now acknowledge that assumption was false.”
He's a shameless criminal. And yet at least 50 million Americans, probably more, are going to vote for him again in 2020. They just like the fact that he owns the libs. That's it.
digby 8/22/2019 09:00:00 AM