Money and Power: The Trump Organization and Financial Fraud

Image Courtesy of Tech. Sgt. Robert Cloys via Wikimedia Commons

Jasper Danielson, Queen’s University
Edited by Tai Withers

After former President Donald J. Trump’s numerous and highly publicized legal conflicts, it is of no surprise to hear about yet another Trump-related investigation. Letitia James, New York’s current Attorney General, is accusing Trump’s family business of misleading or misrepresenting the value of their assets in a recent filing. This alleged inflation falsely exaggerates net-worth – calculated as the sum of (inflated) assets minus liabilities – which would subsequently allow for otherwise non-achievable economic advantages. This would include more favorable loans, insurance, and tax-benefits. Specifically outlined in the filing is the inflation of:

  • Trump National Golf Club Westchester
  • Trump International Golf Links Aberdeen
  • 40 Wall Street, i.e. “The Trump Building”
  • Donald J. Trump’s own penthouse home in Trump Tower

Mr. Trump, in response to James’ inquiries, has claimed to be the victim of a politically motivated attack under the premise that James has used her vendetta against Trump as a means to secure re-election as Attorney General. James, regardless of her democratic affiliations, has not been halted by these accusations. Rather, she has been seeing success in her legal pursuit, having Mr. Trump, along with his children Donald Trump Jr., and Ivanka Trump, all subpoenaed. Despite their lawyers’ protests, these three members of the Trump family  are now subject to questioning under oath within the coming weeks. Although this new break has the potential to unveil new evidence and push James to file a formal lawsuit against the organization, the government’s questioning in court may still be met with a slew of Fifth Amendment (protecting against self-incrimination) rebuttals as seen by the past interrogation of Eric Trump, the trio’s son/brother. Even though this may result in inferences, no legal action could be taken as a result. Their use of the Fifth Amendment implies that they are in fact part of criminal activity; had they not been part of it, they would not need to use their fifth amendment rights.

However, with this recent and increasingly serious legal dispute in mind,  Donald Trump still remains at the top of the political food-chain as a favoured candidate in the 2024 Presidential elections. Although this seems shocking, it is of little surprise when one considers all of his previous encounters with the authorities, and all the accusations against him that did not inhibit him from being elected as the 45th President of the United-States back in 2016. At the time, he was subject to dozens of sexual assault allegations, racism allegations, and even bragged about skirting federal income taxes. How can so many U.S. citizens support such blatantly unethical behavior? The commander in chief should be leading by example, not taking advantage of the system for which he is in charge. How is it possible that one could oversee the implementation of everything from equality laws to tax policies, yet not be held accountable to adhere to the very same policies they had created themselves? Perhaps it is a grey area that they manage to stay within, but it is definitely dishonest and immoral – two qualities that no good, fair, and honest leader should possess.

Donald J. Trump is the perfect example of how power can be attained through money. However, it is important to remember that he is not the only individual for whom this criticism applies. The affluent are just everyday people, and there is no reason for them to be favored because of their social or economic status, regardless of who they are.


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