Trump Caught Stealing $1.3M In Campaign Funds


The presidential candidate who ran on a platform of spending his own money to be elected, therefore being the only candidate not beholden to big donors, not only didn’t spend much of his own money, he’s profited from his campaign and his presidency.

Trump did spend some of his own funds at the beginning of his 2016 campaign; in fact, he spent about $50 million of the billions he claims to be worth during that time. Once he became the Republican nominee, however, he collected millions in donations and paid his businesses using those funds. It’s been quite the profit machine for the liar-in-chief.

Forbes reports that:

‘Donald Trump has charged his own reelection campaign $1.3 million for rent, food, lodging and other expenses since taking office, according to a Forbesanalysis of the latest campaign filings. And although outsiders have contributed more than $50 million to the campaign, the billionaire president hasn’t handed over any of his own cash. The net effect: $1.3 million of donor money has turned into $1.3 million of Trump money.’

It’s not a surprise that Trump cares little about the gravity of the job he’s been elected to do and more about making money. What’s surprising is that he’s gotten away with profiting from the presidency. Anytime Trump’s campaign required space to operate, food to eat, or anything else that the Trump Organization sells, it was bought from the Trump Organization with campaign funds. The legality of that action is under investigation.

‘Once he became president, Trump had a chance to get some money back. The campaign put more than $800,000 into Trump Tower Commercial LLC, the holding company through which Trump owns his interest in the original Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue. Trump Tower Commercial LLC took in an additional $225,000 in rent from the Republican National Committee, which coordinated those payments with the campaign. That means that, since the inauguration, Trump’s reelection effort has had a hand in funneling more than $1 million into the president’s most famous property.’

The question in the investigation is whether or not the campaign funds were used properly or if Trump inflated prices to get more money from his campaign for his personal businesses. That is, in essence, why his inaugural committee is under investigation; some of the expenses they claimed were inflated into unreal numbers. Some of the economists interviewed by Forbes called the amounts of rent and other expenses claimed by the Trump campaign “robbery.”

‘It’s a key question because federal regulations allow candidates to put campaign money into their own businesses only if they pay going rates. Given the varying opinions on whether $3,000 a month constitutes a fair price, however, it seems unlikely that the payments will spark an investigation by the Federal Election Commission. “If something is really egregious, yeah, it’s there,” says Bradley Smith, a Republican who served as a commissioner of the FEC from 2000 to 2005. “But they’re just not going to try to pick apart things on a difference of a few percentage points and try to second-guess what should be paid.”’

Featured image via Flickr by Gage Skidmore under a Creative Commons license