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Donald Trump's adult sons, Eric and Donald Jr., have created a Dallas-based nonprofit to give wealthy donors exclusive access to the president-elect on his first days in office — and, somehow, protect the environment.
The 6-day-old Opening Day Foundation will host "Opening Day 2017," an event held in downtown D.C. the day after Trump's inauguration, to commemorate the incoming president and "celebrate the great American tradition of outdoor sporting, shooting, fishing and conservation."
Those who donate more than $250,000 get to attend a private reception with Trump during the event and a hunting or fishing excursion with one of the Trump brothers (and receive a heap of Trump swag).
According to the Center for Public Integrity, the investigative organization that uncovered the Trump brothers' financial ties
to the event, nonprofits like theirs aren't legally required to reveal their donors — and the gala's top donors may remain anonymous.
All proceeds go to unnamed "conservation charities," according to the event's brochure
, that also reminds attendees the dress code is "camouflage and cufflinks." But while the brochure paints a heroic picture of preserving nature, there's no information on how this gala will actually help protect the environment.
Even Mike Ingram, an Arizona developer who is listed as one of the event's co-chairmen, sounded confused about the event's point in an interview with tCPI.
"It’s going to raise a lot of money to go to sportsman’s charities," he said.
Donald Trump, Jr. has also shared his interest in preserving public land access for sportsmen
while campaigning for his father. It seems the "conservation" the event supports may only benefit human activity. Trump himself has yet to prove that he is actually "open-minded"
about environmental issues, claiming climate change is a hoax invented by the Chinese to thwart American businesses.
But this conservation focus may just be a tool to distract from the event's serious ethical issues.
“This is problematic on so many levels,” Larry Noble, the general counsel of the Campaign Legal Center, a nonpartisan campaign reform organization, told CPI.
“This is Donald Trump and the Trump family using a brand new organization to raise $1 million contributions for a vague goal of giving money to conservation charities, which seems a way of basically just selling influence and selling the ability to meet with the president.”