When it comes to the most ardent detractors of President Donald Trump, any negative news about Trump seems to be good news for America. Moreover, any good news for justice and liberty seems to them to be bad news for Donald Trump. It is in the context of the narrow minded zero sum game that opponents of the President are celebrating the announced dissolution of the Trump Foundation. According to court documents, it would seem that the Trump family had crossed various ethical lines in the nonprofit sector constituting a lawsuit and investigation from the New York Attorney General. Nevermind that the choice to investigate the foundation was clearly politically motivated. Had Trump never run for office, the State of New York wouldn’t have thought twice about it. Regardless, it appears the foundation is guilty of various bad decisions and its dissolution may very well be a good thing for justice in America and the integrity of the nonprofit sector. That being said, this isn’t impeachment and opponents of the President shouldn’t quite uncork the champagne just yet.
The Murky Non-Profit Sector
It just so happens that the author writing this article to you write now has served in nonprofit management for over 15 years. This includes time with small mom and pop style nonprofits as well as organizations that span 15 states and hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. What is clear to me and perhaps less obvious to the public is that the rules and ethics that govern nonprofit organizations are often less clear than one might think. Billions of dollars pass through nonprofits each year as donors seek tax breaks along with seeking a social impact. Nonprofits strive to deliver this social good while at the same time realizing the need to cozy up to donors. After all, a nonprofit without funds is merely a do good social club.
That is why nonprofit ethics are so important and again, the dissolution of a nonprofit like the Trump foundation that can’t keep up with them is good for America. However, it is a far cry from an offense that I would recommend putting one in jail for and certainly it is not an offense worthy of nullifying an electoral result in our constitutional republic. In many cases, it is very much like campaign finance laws. With so many rules and regulations, it is easy for a well intended action run afoul of the ethical guidelines. Less nefarious and more clumsy is most often the case. Apart from outright fraud, nonprofit leaders rarely go to jail and nor does anyone on their board of directors.
So What’s the Fuss with Trump?
To say that Trump Foundation served no common social good would be inaccurate. The United Way, Operation Smile, the Fisher House and Disabled Veterans have all been the recipients of Trump foundation money along with a near endless list of others. Social good was being achieved by the Trump Foundation and its dissolution brings a stop to that measure of impact. In all reality, while it is a victory for justice to have them shut down it is no victory for the real charities supported by this foundation.
In that regard, it is nothing to celebrate unless you see the world through the zero sum game that is what is bad for Trump is good for me. The Trump Foundation running afoul of ethical laws has nothing to do with Russian collusion and certainly nothing to do with being President of the United States. For those celebrating this victory over Trump today, they should understand that regardless of the signs or cries to contrary, Trump is still your President.