Today, just one quote from the Levin Report (Vanity Fair) and two from the actual Trump Organization indictment after a link to our Retake Conversation with economist Kelly O’Donnell on how Dems can strengthen & diversify our economy.
With Economist Kelly O’Donnell
This is a fascinating conversation, as O’Donnell has two decades of experience both inside and outside government. She brought some surprising ideas to the conversation, especially towards the end when we began to discuss how we might diversify our economy and ween ourselves of gas and oil revenue. Unfortunately, she had an unstable connection and so she had to shut off her video until the last minutes of the interview. Good stuff.
The Trump Organization Indictment
You Really Can’t Believe This
For far too long, the news has been dominated by an imperious, vain despot who clearly has felt he is above the law. His hubris is almost unimaginable. But the same hubris we have seen on the evening news ever since he descended that escalator in 2015, appears to have informed the corporate behavior of his Trump Organization, now facing no less than15 criminal charges—including conspiracy, grand larceny, and multiple counts of tax fraud and falsifying records. It is truly unbelievable what is written in the just delivered indictment of the Trump Organization and its CFO. Vanity Fair’s ” The Levin Report: “Oops, The Trump Organization Kept Actual Spreadsheets of Its Crimes” offers a humorous take on this, but then substantiates its assertions with citations from the indictment itself.
I hope you enjoy this half as much as I did. Sounds like pay back time is at hand.
From the Vanity Fair’s Levin Report:
In life, a good rule of thumb is to not engage in the sort of behavior that could result in being charged with numerous felonies; in other words, don‘t do crimes. But if you’re going to ignore that rule, and you don’t want to spend years in prison, another piece of advice is to not leave such an obvious paper trail of said crimes that you might as well have stuck a Post-it note on a stack of files that reads, “Hey, everybody, come check out all the laws I’ve been breaking! It’s all right here! Get the handcuffs ready!” Which, based on the indictment unsealed in a Manhattan courtroom today, is basically what the Trump Organization and its longtime CFO did, for more than a decade. Whoops!
Yes, in a turn of events perhaps unsurprising given Donald Trump‘s frequent pronouncements that he‘s “like, really smart,” it appears that not only did the Trump Organization and Allen Weisselberg engage in so many scams that they were hit with a whopping 15 criminal charges—including conspiracy, grand larceny, and multiple counts of tax fraud and falsifying records—but they were really, really stupid about it. Despite the fact that Weisselberg and the company were very effective at (allegedly) hiding all sorts of income from the Internal Revenue Service—largely through fringe benefits like apartments, cars, and private school tuition the Trump Org paid for that were never declared as income—they apparently never envisioned a scenario in which they would be investigated, hence the decision to keep meticulous records of all the taxes they were allegedly dodging. (In total, Weisselberg was accused of dodging taxes on $1.7 million worth of perks, and was led into the courtroom on Thursday in handcuffs.)Vanity Fair: The Levin Report: “Oops, The Trump Organization Kept Actual Spreadsheets of Its Crimes”
Levin then cited the actual indictment. It is unfathomable how anyone could be this careless and prideful, privilege run amok:
Weisselberg caused the Trump Corporation to issue corporate checks made payable to a Trump Organization employee who cashed the checks and received cash. The cash was given to Weisselberg for his personal use. The Trump Corporation booked this cash as “Holiday Entertainment,” but maintained internal spreadsheets showing the cash to be part of Weisselberg’s employee compensation.Trump Organization Indictment Excerpt
While these cash payments made it into the Trump Organization spreadsheet, they somehow didn’t make it into Weisselberg’s income calculations in his tax returns.
And then Levin provides “another fun example” directly from the indictment:
For certain years, the Trump Organization maintained internal spreadsheets that tracked the amounts it paid for Weisselberg’s rent, utility, and garage expenses. Simultaneously, the Trump Organization reduced the amount of direct compensation that Weisselberg received in the form of checks or direct deposits to account for the indirect compensation that he received in the form of payments of rent, utility bills, and garage expenses. The indirect compensation was not included on Weisselberg’s W-2 forms or otherwise reported to federal, state, or local tax authorities, and no income taxes were withheld by the corporate defendants in connection with the indirect compensation.Trump Organization Indictment Excerpt
Weisselberg, who pleaded not guilty on Thursday alongside the ex-president‘s business, is now facing more than a decade in prison, if convicted on all charges. And while prosecutors are presumably still hoping he’ll flip and testify against Trump, according to former Trump Organization attorney Michael Cohen, the government will still be able to make its case without him
In solidarity and hope,
Paul & Roxanne