Quote of the Day: Nothing in Writing, Please

Greg Lovett/The Palm Beach Post via ZUMA

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From a Palm Beach Post story by Christine Stapleton and Lawrence Mower about Donald Trump’s purchase of Mar-a-Lago in the early 90s:

Trump’s promise couldn’t be in writing, Trump attorney Rampell told the council, according to meeting minutes and transcripts. If the council insisted Trump’s commitment be in writing, his donation might be disqualified by the IRS as a charitable contribution.

The backstory here is that the city of Palm Beach wasn’t happy with Trump’s plans for preserving the Mar-a-Lago estate. So Trump’s lawyers proposed a deal: if the city council approved Trump’s plan to create a private club, Trump would turn over much of the interior of the mansion to the National Trust for Historic Preservation. But the deal had to be under the table. Trump wanted a tax deduction for his charitable contribution to the NTHP, and it’s not charitable if it’s done in return for something, is it?

So, wink wink nudge nudge, and the deal went through. But there was never any paper trail, so the IRS approved the charitable deduction. Life is good when you’re a millionaire.

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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