What Is He Worth? Donald Trump’s FEC Disclosure Raises Questions Regarding His Previous Claims

Donald Trump says he has a lot of money. He’s probably right about that, too. Ever the herald of hyperbole, the billionaire has assured potential voters of his vast net worth many times since he ventured into the 2016 presidential race. But on Wednesday, Trump got down to brass tacks by filing a disclosure with the Federal Election Commission.

A host of news outlets sifted through the 92-page document, which places Trump’s assets some perspective. Despite extensive data within the FEC disclosure, though, Trump’s precise net worth remains unclear. A feature in The Australian‘s “Business Review” section noted that the FEC documents indicate Trump has assets worth at least $1.5 billion. While that figure represents a substantial quantity of wealth by virtually every standard, it’s still a far cry from Trump’s previous statements suggesting he is worth over $10 billion.

Gawker lambasted Trump’s previous assertions regarding his personal holdings as a “super-official net worth exaggeration.” The site published an extensive timeline detailing the outspoken tycoon’s lengthy history of claims regarding his wealth, including a 2005 anecdote from journalist Tim O’Brien, who has written extensively on the life and times of Donald Trump.

“I would say six [billion]. Five to six. Five to six.”

“Hmm. The previous August he told me that his net worth was $4 billion to $5 billion. Then, later that same day that August, he said his casino holdings represented 2 percent of his wealth, which at the time gave him a net worth of about $1.7 billion. In the same day, Donald’s own estimates of his wealth differed by as much as $3.3 billion. How could that happen? Was Donald living in his own private zone of wildly escalating daily inflation, a Trump Bolivia? And his $1.7 billion figure in August was well below the $2.6 billion that Forbes would credit him when it published its rich list just a couple of months later.”

“Now Donald was saying he was worth $5 billion to $6 billion.”

“Five to six. Five to six.”

“And on the nightstand in my bedroom at Donald’s Palm Beach club, Mar-a-Lago, was a glossy brochure that said he was worth $9.5 billion.”

Gawker noted that Deutsche Bank conducted an evaluation of Donald Trump’s net worth the same year, concluding that he was worth $788 million. That was a decade ago.

Philip Bump of The Washington Post is skeptical that voters — and any other interested parties, entities, or institutions — will get any clearer picture than what is offered through the FEC filings. He noted that Forbes has recently estimated Trump’s net worth at $4 billion, musing that Trump’s latest disclosure will likely prompt the magazine to reevaluate those conclusions. But questions regarding the validity and reliability of Trump’s own claims are compounded by the intrigue that generally accompanies matters of tax liabilities and other obligations.

Whether Trump is worth hundreds of millions or several billion dollars, he remains in one of the top tiers of wealth and social standing worldwide. And while it remains to be seen whether Donald Trump has what it takes to make it to the White House, he’ll still be laughing all the way to the bank come next November.

[Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]