More than two months after Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump claimed to have raised $6 million for veterans’ charities at a fundraiser held on the eve of the Iowa caucuses, most of the organizations targeted to receive the money have gotten less than half of that amount.
The Wall Street Journal, citing a survey of the 22 groups listed by Trump’s campaign as prospective recipients for the money, reported that 19 organizations had obtained a total of $2.4 million from Trump’s foundation or associates.
Of the three other charities, one declined to disclose how much it had received, another said it needed to submit more paperwork before receiving any money, and the third didn’t respond to questions by the Journal.
Trump held the Jan. 29 benefit in lieu of attending a GOP debate hosted by Fox News. The real estate mogul had declined to appear at the debate, claiming that he had not been treated fairly by the network.
All 19 groups that confirmed receiving money from the Trump event got checks in the mail. Sixteen charities saw donations arrive in late February in increments of $50,000 or $100,000. The other three reported smaller donations in March, with those amounts averaging between $5,000 and $15,000.
Keith David of the Task Force Dagger Foundation told the Journal that he was confused about whether a $50,000 check from Trump associate Stewart Rahr’s foundation was tied to the Iowa event. He said he had been informed by a Trump representative that it was.
“It’s a little weird,” David said. “It looks like it’s from a totally separate organization.”
Hope Hicks, a spokeswoman for the Trump campaign, told the Journal that Trump had “distributed many of the contributions to a number of worthy organizations, and will continue to do so.” She declined to say how much money raised at the event had been distributed, nor did she say how much each group had received.
The Journal, citing the Trump Foundation’s tax returns, reported that the nonprofit had given just $180,000 to veterans’ charities over the past decade. Hicks said that amount did not include personal donations by the candidate.
At least one prominent charity declined to receive any money from the January fundraiser. Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) founder Paul Rieckhoff called the event a “political stunt”.