Trump’s Pay to Play? New SBA Head is Big Donor to Trump Foundation
Trump’s New Head of Small Business Administration Is A Pro-Wrestling Magnate And Top Trump Foundation Donor
President-elect Donald Trump ran a brutal campaign targeting the Clinton Foundation as the supreme example of corruption and elitism in Washington. This makes for particularly bad optics as Trump picks a top donor to his own foundation as the new head of Small Business Administration.
On Wednesday, President-elect Donald Trump named pro-wrestling magnate Linda McMahon as the new head of Small Business Administration. “Linda has a tremendous background and is widely recognized as one of the country’s top female executives advising businesses around the globe,” Trump said in an announcement.
McMahon is the former CEO and co-founder of the WWE professional wrestling franchise. An early supporter of Trump’s presidential campaign, McMahon is also one of the Trump Foundation’s biggest donors. A Washington Post analysis published in April shows McMahon topping the chart of Trump Foundation donors from 2004 to 2014, totaling $5 million.
During the election, Trump was a fierce critic of the Clinton Foundation, once calling it a “criminal enterprise” and alleging the non-profit was at the center of a Clinton-led pay to play scheme; wherein wealthy elites trade donations for political favors and influence. Allegedly, cash is then funneled indirectly to the Clintons and their friends.
While the two non-profits operate on vastly different scales, critics have previously pointed out similar improprieties regarding the Trump Foundation. In September, the Washington Post reported that Trump had used some $258,000 from his charity to settle legal problems. In 2013, the foundation gave $25,000 to a PAC supporting Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. In 2016, she declined to investigate fraud allegations against Trump University.
Trump has not donated to his charity since 2009, and the latest data indicates its funding relies entirely on donations from other people.
Documents released by WikiLeaks seem to indicate the pay-to-play model has been at work in Washington long before either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump announced their candidacies. But for Trump, who famously promised to “drain the swamp” and end corruption on the hill, being implicated in the practice is a particularly harsh blow to his credibility as a reformer.
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