Donald Trump's 2020 reelection campaign filtered close to $200,000 to his family members, properties, and businesses in the fourth quarter of last year, campaign finance filings show.
The FEC filings were reported by Anna Massoglia of Open Secrets DC and shared on Twitter, showing a series of large payments to the president's own business interests and those of close family members. The filings to Trump's companies totaled $194,247.57, with many to the Trump Corporation and Trump Restaurants LLC.
Trump has long been accused of using both campaign donations and taxpayer money to benefit his own businesses. The filings also showed that a larger amount went to Trump's personal legal defenses, with more than $1.4 million in the fourth quarter of last year going to legal consulting and lawyer fees.
The Republican National Committee has pitched in even more toward Trump's legal defenses, a report from The Washington Post noted. The firm of his chief personal lawyer, Jay Sekulow, and attorney Jane Raskin received $225,000 from the RNC through November of last year. The payments from the RNC were expected to continue through February as Trump's impeachment trial comes to a conclusion.
Critics also say that Trump has filtered a significant amount of taxpayer money toward his personal businesses and his own interests. As The Inquisitr reported last month, a surprise trip to Afghanistan that the president took over the Thanksgiving holiday cost an extra $5 million because Trump first went to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, where he golfed. The trip required a cargo plane solely to move Trump from Mar-a-Lago to an airport where he could fly out of the country. On the way back, Air Force One flew to Germany to pick up Trump so that he could be flown back to Florida.Trump's golf habits have come under scrutiny before, with critics saying that he is putting money into his own pockets by requiring secret service members to pay for accommodations at his own properties. The Huffington Post reported last November that total taxpayer costs for Trump's golf trips had topped $115 million.The report noted that the president's penchant for hosting world leaders at his company's resorts is costly as well.
"ProPublica, for example, found that Mar-a-Lago charged taxpayers $546 a night for rooms ― three times the per-diem rate and the maximum allowed by federal rules ― for 24 Trump administration officials who stayed there during a visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2017. Taxpayers also picked up a $1,006.60 bar tab for 54 top shelf drinks ordered by White House staff," the report noted.