Trump’s Campaign Paid His Own Companies $12.8 Million: Report
President Trump used campaign funds to pay for services provided by his own companies.
The Hill reports:
President Trump’s campaign paid his own companies $12.8 million during election season, Politico reported Wednesday.
According to Federal Election Commission (FEC) data, $2 million went directly to Trump Tower’s corporation in rent and utility payments for serving as the campaign’s headquarters, along with some payroll.
Trump has said he plans to keep his 2020 campaign staff at the office during his presidency, which means more money will likely flow from Trump’s campaign to his company over the course of the next four years.
TAG air, which operates Trump’s private plane, received the most money from Trump’s campaign. The $12.8 million includes costs associated with office supplies, security, and Trump-owned offices and hotels.
The campaign reported paying Trump International Hotel in Washington about $37,000 for facility rental, catering and lodging, according to FEC data, which shows total payments to Trump hotels of more than $400,000.
Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s Florida resort, took in $435,000 from the campaign for facility rental, catering and lodging. Trump’s golf courses collected $398,000 for the same services.
Even a corporation owned by Trump’s son Eric received some campaign money, with the younger Trump’s Charlottesville, Va., vineyard paid $32,000 for facilities rental and catering. A related company, Trump Virginia Acquisitions, received $2,300 for accommodations.
Trump restaurants also received money from the campaign, with Trump Restaurants LLC receiving $78,000, Trump Grill getting $608 and Trump Café making $95. Trump Restaurants LLC was also took in $141,000 for rent and utilities.
Such close integration between a candidate’s businesses and his political operation, Politico reported, is unprecedented in American presidential politics.
Other wealthy presidential candidates have used their own companies for campaign services, but have not relied on them to the same extent as Trump, either to downplay their own wealth or to avoid the appearance that they’re personally profiting off of politics.
In January, Trump announced that he would hand over control of his business to his two adult sons, although he declined to follow the advice of ethics experts who said he had to divest from his holdings as president.
Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr.