Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Insanity of Donald Trump's 500 Businesses

I read some horrifying information today about just how bad Donald Trump's conflicts of interest are. You're welcome to take a look yourself: here's a Twitter thread on Trump's business organization, and here's a Newsweek article on his conflicts of interest.

To sum up:

Donald Trump does not run a company. Donald Trump runs about 500 companies, all set up as either sole proprietorships or closely held partnerships. This means that all of them go on his personal tax return, not a business tax return. This lets him take advantage of massive tax breaks, and explains why his son claims his tax return runs to 10,000 pages.

Additionally, most of those businesses carry massive loads of debt from different banks. So he cannot afford to disentangle himself from his businesses. Even if the banks allowed him to sell, he can't afford the tax payments that would result. So no matter what he says, Donald Trump will never be able to divest himself of his businesses, and the conflicts of interest involved will remain a problem.

To date, those conflicts include:

Being $364M in debt to Deutsche Bank, which is currently fighting a $14B settlement being leveraged by the Justice Department for securities fraud in 2008.

Trump Tower, currently being built in the Philippines, which the Trump children stand to make millions of dollars from during Trump's presidency. That assumes the good graces of Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte, who has since rising to power massacred 4,500 Filipinos using vigilante death squads.

A Trump complex in Turkey, which was built in partnership with the local Dogan group and is providing Trump's children with, again, millions of dollars. President Erdogan of Turkey recently detained a senior executive of the group, sending its stock price plummeting, and has since Trump's election strenuously called for the extradition from the U.S. of Fethullah Gülen, a 77-year-old Muslim spiritual leader who has lived in Pennsylvania’s Poconos region for many years and was accused by Erdogan of inspiring the recent Turkish coup attempt. It's hard not to imagine a quid pro quo arrangement to trade Gülen for the Dogan group's welfare. In other words, blackmail of a U.S. President.

Roll on 2017. Either Congress impeaches Trump on his first day in office or we're all fucked.

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