Donor to Eric's foundation landed high-paying government job

Trump administration appointed a donor to The Eric Trump Foundation to a $160,000/year position in the Small Business Administration

The president of a foundation that donated $85,000 to the Eric Trump Foundation later received an appointment during Donald J. Trump’s presidency to the Small Business Administration.

Per its filings with the Internal Revenue Service, in 2012 through 2016 the Anthony J. Rinaldi Jr. Foundation for Children with Cancer donated $10,000 to $25,000 annually to the Eric Trump Foundation. In November 2017, the Rinaldi Foundation’s president, Elmo J. Rinaldi, was appointed to serve as the SBA Office of Advocacy’s Region 3 Advocate, a position he still holds per the agency’s website. For his first two years in the job, Rinaldi’s annual government salary’s base was $161,900, according to FederalPay.org (he receives no compensation from the foundation per its tax returns).

The Eric Trump Foundation has a history of holding events that financially benefit the Trump Organization, as first reported by Dan Alexander for Forbes, with 1100 Pennsylvania turning up subsequent examples. President Donald J. Trump still owns his businesses and can profit from them.

Spokespeople for the Eric Trump Foundation (since rebranded Curetivity), the Small Business Administration, and the Rinaldi Foundation have not replied to 1100 Pennsylvania’s inquiries, while the White House declined to comment on the record. Questions included if there was a relationship between the donations and Elmo Rinaldi’s subsequent government appointment; why the Rinaldi Foundation didn’t just donate directly to St. Jude’s, the beneficiary of Eric’s foundation; and if Elmo Rinaldi ever spoke with Eric or representatives from his charity n or the Trump family about landing a government appointment.

It does appear though that Rinaldi and Eric enjoy a personal relationship based on photos the former shared on Facebook.

The Rinaldi Foundation reported making contributions totalling $278,000 in 2012 through 2016, meaning donations to the Eric Trump Foundation comprised 30 percent of the Rinaldi Foundation’s annual giving.

That charity’s donations continued after the Eric Trump Foundation rebranded itself as Curetivity in early 2017, contributing a total of $50,000 to Curetivity in 2017 and 2018 (the last year for which data is available). It’s not clear if the Rinaldi Foundation’s 2017 donation of $25,000 to Curetivity occurred before or after its president’s government appointment in November of that year. The Rinaldi Foundation raises funds via a Christmas gala to benefit children with cancer.

1100 Pennsylvania learned of the donations by poking around (again) in ProPublica’s Nonprofit Explorer.

According to a press release from the SBA announcing Rinaldi’s hiring, his background includes developing businesses in the real estate, restaurant franchise, manufacturing, and beverage industries. His government role includes “identify[ing] new issues and concerns of small business owners in the nation’s 10 federal regions. They also monitor the impact of federal.”


Campaign expenditures

The campaign for Congressperson-elect Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) spent $717.30 for meals on Nov. 16 at the head of the executive branch’s D.C. hotel. (Greene has supported the false QAnon and 9/11 Truther conspiracy theories.) That disbursement was the Greene campaign’s first at the Trump Hotel D.C. Greene posted several photos of herself at the hotel around the time of the expenditure, including one shared on Nov. 18 of her dining with White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and his wife at BLT Prime.


Notable sightings

A glimpse of the foreign officials, government employees, politicians, lobbyists, and the like who patronize or appear at Trump businesses. Most people shown here have reasons to want to influence the Trump administration, rely on its good graces for their livelihoods, or should be providing oversight. Additionally, high-profile guests serve as draws for paying customers.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reportedly dined at his boss’s D.C. hotel recently. Pompeo is one of the 27 (out of 35) members of Trump’s cabinet who’ve been spotted at the Trump Hotel D.C.

President Trump’s recently pardoned ex-National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and his attorney Sidney Powell conducted interviews with Fox News outlets from rooms at the Trump Hotel D.C. (H/T Room Rater). Flynn also posed for maskless photos (in multiple outfits) in the lobby with his benefactor’s other customers.

During a pro-Trump rally on Saturday, members of the hate group the Proud Boys posed for a photo in front of the Trump Hotel D.C. of all places, reported journalist Jan Postma.

Congressperson-elect Madison Cawthorne (R-NC) gave a thumbs up by the Christmas tree with the head of the executive branch’s other customers.

Major GOP donor and Fox News advertiser The MyPillow Guy returned to the Trump Hotel D.C.


Other Trump Organization news


Reference section

Links to rundowns of developments in the House’s investigations and lawsuits, reference sheets for some of 1100 Pennsylvania’s previous reporting, and articles that provide the background on why all of this matters. The date published or last updated is in parentheses.

Trackers

Notable hotel customers

Summaries

  • Stay to play: Inside the sordid history of Trump’s D.C. hotel—And why the president’s prized property could be headed for a reckoning” by your correspondent for Mother Jones (September 2020)

  • Power tripping in the swamp: How Trump’s D.C. hotel swallowed Washington
    The MAGA social scene is a movable feast, but its dark heart resides within the Old Post Office Building, where the Trump Org operates under a mercenary charter” by your correspondent for Vanity Fair (October 2019)

  • Inside the world’s most controversial hotel: The hotel that was expected to take its place among the crown jewels of D.C.’s travel scene has become a magnet for protestors, a West Wing Annex, and—possibly—the center of a constitutional crisis.” by your correspondent for Condé Nast Traveler (May 2018)

Upcoming key dates

  • Sept. 23, 2019—House Judiciary Committee hearing “Presidential corruption: Emoluments and profiting off the presidency” (postponed, not yet rescheduled)

  • Dec. 9, 2020—Deadline for exchanging witness lists in the D.C. attorney general’s lawsuit alleging improperly spent nonprofit funds by the Trump Hotel D.C. and Trump’s inaugural committee.

  • Jan. 20, 2021—Donald Trump will no longer be the president.


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