Donald Trump has reportedly funneled almost one-fifth of his campaign funding directly back into his own companies over the course of his campaign. Donald Trump, who stopped self-funding his presidential bid last month, ironically just after becoming the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, has spent virtually his entire presidential campaign mixing his private ventures with his public campaign, reports CNN.
Donald Trump has used his campaign rallies to promote Trump products and books, has brought his personal legal trouble regarding Trump University into the campaign (possibly compromising his popularity by calling out the presiding judge’s ancestry), and is even planning to have the political press visit a controversial Trump golf course in Scotland in the near future. But that’s not even close to the worst of it.
As a campaign finance report, released Monday, clearly shows, roughly 17 percent of all of Donald Trump campaign expenses are ultimately incurred at Trump-linked businesses. Since launching his inexplicable presidential campaign over a year ago, Donald Trump has paid almost $11 million to Donald Trump.
Since his presidential campaign began, Donald Trump has paid $420,000 to Mar-a-Lago, private Florida club where Trump both lives and has held many Election Night victory parties; he paid $4.6 million to TAG Air to use his own Trump-owned private jets; he even paid roughly $5,000 to his son Eric via the Eric Trump Winery Manufacturing LLC.
Rachel Maddow broke down Donald Trump’s campaign spending in a scathing monologue, calling his presidential campaign, “essentially a moneymaking racket and a giant book tour.”
Not surprisingly, the news that Donald Trump is paying out many of his campaign dollars to Donald Trump made him a social media target for the presumptive Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton.
What is Trump spending his meager campaign resources on? Why, himself, of course. https://t.co/6LsNwf4gTL— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) June 21, 2016
While many may find Donald Trump’s practice of funneling campaign money back into Donald Trump’s own pocket to be pretty shady behavior, the truth of the matter is that it’s all perfectly legal. In fact, Donald Trump is required to pay “fair market value” for anything utilized by his campaign, including services and good. If he doesn’t pay fair market value for something, whether it’s a private jet flight or a bottle of water, it has to be considered an “in-kind” campaign contribution.
In those instances, in the peculiar campaign of Donald Trump, he would essentially be donating those in-kind contributions back to himself, but the rules are the rules.
So, rather than pay other entities and businesses for campaign necessities and perks, Donald Trump is simply paying Donald Trump.
@MarketWatch He's greasing both of his palms to make sure he comes out ahead when he loses the Presidential campaign.— Lisa Wettstein (@lisamia596) June 21, 2016
@ThePerezHilton his whole campaign is about lining his own pockets and apparently his kids too he's a shyster— Gayle Willard (@GayleDazzler1) June 22, 2016
A handful of Republicans have already expressed concerns about this bizarre practice of Trump, something that’s possibly only due to his excessive business holdings. Many Republican donors have said that because of his “self-funded” campaign (wherein his personal donations to himself are classified as “loans”), Donald Trump could conceivably use campaign contributions from to pay himself back rather than actually fund his campaign ads and other needs.
Donald Trump has sworn that he will not use donor money for himself, but rather make sure it’s used for his presidential campaign, in a statement released last month.
“I have absolutely no intention of paying myself back.”
However, if 17 percent of his campaign spending ends up back in his own pocket because it’s spent at his own businesses, it appears that he’s already in the process of paying himself back.
Donald Trump presidential campaign, spending on hats, Jan-May 2016. pic.twitter.com/31UW3Jsx6W— Paul Fairie (@paulisci) June 21, 2016
Other large Donald Trump campaign expenditures of a shady nature include a payment of $577,000 made to Trump Tower, reportedly for “rent and payroll” at the building Trump owns, as well as a $4.7 million payment to Ace Specialties. Ace Specialties is the supplier for Donald Trump’s online store, and it is owned by a member of his son Eric’s board of directors, Christl Mahfouz.
The news of the Donald Trump campaign’s spending practices alongside the news that the Trump campaign is essentially broke and desperately trying to raise funds. According to documents released this week, Donald Trump’s campaign had under $1.3 million in cash on hand and the end of May, which is next to nothing for a major presidential campaign.
The Donald Trump campaign put out an emergency call for donations, but it’s unclear how many political donors will be willing to kick down money knowing that much of Donald Trump’s campaign money is being paid to Donald Trump.
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