Donald Trump Pivoted Massive Amounts of Money from Campaign Donors To His Own Businesses

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It now appears as though President Donald Trump, a billionaire, failed to contribute one dime to his campaign; rather, he funded it through supporters around the country.

Meanwhile, according to the latest federal filings, Trump’s own companies profited because he charged the campaign for rent and consulting and other expenses.

Image via Flickr/Gage Skidmore, License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en_GB

In fact, since January 20, 2017, he moved at least $1.9 million of donor money into his campaign.

Karl Sandstrom, who served as commissioner of Federal Election Commission from 1998-2002, said, “This is a man, who when he first said he was going to run for office, was saying that he was going to do this all out of his own pocket… And now he’s taking money from others and putting it in his pocket.”

Flickr / Gage Skidmore / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

“This is a man, who when he first said he was going to run for office, was saying that he was going to do this all out of his own pocket… And now he’s taking money from others and putting it in his pocket.”

Karl Sandstrom

Forbes first reported in 2019 that Trump had already taken over a million dollars in this manner and since that time the amount has just grown.

“Donald Trump,” by US Department of State is licensed with CC BY-NC 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/

The leading Trump-owned business that has taken in the most cash is Trump Tower Commercial LLC, which houses office and retail spaces in the presidents NYC building.

The Republican National Committee worked with the campaign, paying out an additional $225,000 from September 2017 to January 2018. Out of the $1.5 million that Trump Tower Commercial received from the campaign and the RNC combined, $113,000 came from the last few months of 2019.

Flickr / Gage Skidmore / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Another business entity named the Trump Corp., also owned by the former president, raked in $259,000 from the campaign.

Financial reports say the corporation is a “management company” and FEC filings show it is charging his campaign for legal and IT consulting although it remains unclear whether or not that is accurate. Even if that is true, there is some speculation as to why his reelection campaign should be relying on a “management company” for legal or technology services.

Flickr / Gage Skidmore / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

The Trump International Hotel in D.C. is the next-biggest beneficiary. It is the president’s residence outside of the White House and took in $126,000 of campaign money according to FEC filings.

The campaign also moved about $60,000 to a business called the Trump Hotel Collection in the final three months of 2019.

Flickr / Web Summit / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Campaign funds also went to Trump Plaza LLC, another Trump owned business in Manhattan which houses a parking garage, retail, and residential space. Trump Plaza LLC took in $84,000 from the campaign in expenses listed as “rent.” But the reelection campaign didn’t appear to use any of those spaces. In fact, in November 2018, a reporter stood outside of the buildings for 14 hours to ask residents if they had witnessed any sign of a campaign at those locations — they had not.

Trump Restaurants also took in money from the campaign. Apparently it charged the campaign to rent a souvenir stand in the basement of Trump Tower. The campaign paid $3,000 a month to that entity, more per sq. foot than Gucci pays in that same building.

Flickr / The White House

As much of a bad taste as this might leave in one’s mouth, all of these transactions do appear to be legal. A former Trump campaign official issued a general statement: “The campaign pays fair-market value under negotiated rental agreements and other service agreements in compliance with the law… The campaign works closely with campaign counsel to ensure strict compliance in this regard.”

In contrast to Sandstrom, Bradley Smith, a Republican who served as an FEC commissioner from 2000 to 2005, didn’t seem concerned about the payments, saying, “There’s no problem, so to speak, doing business with yourself, as long as you’re not giving yourself some kind of super-favorable deal that the public can’t get.”

The post Donald Trump Pivoted Massive Amounts of Money from Campaign Donors To His Own Businesses first appeared on TPL News.



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