Scrutiny of Trump Foundation deepens

Donald Trump‘s campaign is grappling with new allegations that the GOP nominee used his charitable foundation to pay personal expenses.

On Tuesday, The Washington Post published tax and legal documents alleging Trump’s foundation spent $258,000 to settle lawsuits that involved Trump’s for-profit businesses.

The latest allegation comes after Trump’s foundation was found to have made an improper $25,000 donation to a group supporting Florida’s Attorney General Pam Bondi (R). That donation came at the same time her office was considering whether to investigate a fraud lawsuit against Trump University.

The Republican also reportedly used foundation money to buy two portraits of himself.

The scrutiny of Trump’s foundation is deepening at a time when Hillary Clinton is facing allegations from Republicans that the Clinton Foundation was running a corrupt “pay-to-play” operation while she was secretary of State. The issue could come up during Monday’s first presidential debate.

Republican strategist Doug Heye said the questions about Trump’s charitable giving could muddy Trump’s attempts to paint Clinton as corrupt, though he doubts the foundation allegations will change many voters’ minds about Trump.

“The question is, who would these revelations matter to?” he said.

Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University poll, said he’s not yet seeing evidence that stories about Trump’s alleged “self-dealing” or hiding of his tax returns are resonating with voters.

The most powerful attacks on Trump focus on his temperament, Murray said.

“I think it’s one of the reasons why the Clinton campaign backed off on some of the earlier attack ads that were surrounding his business dealings,” he added, “and have since focused more on temperament questions.”

The pollster didn’t rule out, however, the possibility that these foundation allegations could eventually “move the needle” against Trump, especially if the negative stories keep accumulating.

On the legal question, experts agreed that use of the $258,000 in charity funds by Trump appears improper.

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