‘I can do anything I want.” Those are frightening words coming from a lawless president, especially as he set about to prove just that. People laughed a little uneasily when Donald Trump said he could shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue (New York) and not lose a vote. Little did they realize how close to the truth that was.
Of course, Trump would not actually do it, because he always manages to get someone else to do his dirty work. Then, the US president managed to charge top rates to his business’ for rent, consulting, and even Secret Service golf carts.
The president started campaigning for reelection immediately after he took office. Since then, he has dumped $1.9 million in donor dollars into his private business.
Democratic Commissioner of the Federal Election Committee between 1998 to 2002, Karl Sandstrom commented to The Forbes magazine:
‘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.’
Forbes reported this a year ago, after he had already siphoned $1,1 million out of his campaign fund and into his own pocket. Under the umbrella of his Trump Organization, his Trump Tower Commercial LLC rented his campaign for $1,3 million. The Republican National Committee (RNC) paid $225,000 in just five months, from September 2017 to January 2018. The RNC paid him $113,000 for three months of rent in 2019.
Described as a “management company,” Trump Corporation took in $259,000 from his campaign since January 2017 for legal and IT consulting, according to the FEC reports.
Trump Restaurants LLC charged $3,000 or $600 per square foot for space in the basement of Trump Tower for a little souvenir stand. Interestingly enough, Gucci pays $460 per square foot in a much better location. Rates for smaller spaces do run higher, but maybe not that much.
The campaign paid Trump Plaza LLC for leasing parking spaces. It had paid $84,000 for rent. That one was odd, because no one appeared to be using it. A Forbes staffer hung around 14 hours asking people if they had seen signs of the campaign. They said no, but a Trump staff member said sometimes campaign officials “crashed” there.
The president’s Washington DC hotel brings in a very substantial amount of money. Trump apparently has used it as a “second home” blocks away from the White House. The cost? $126,000.
Former FEC commissioner Ann Ravel said that the commission was a watchdog for spending, but they need a quorum of four votes to take any action:
‘They can’t even meet without four members, because four is a quorum. They cannot ask the general counsel’s office to investigate anything. So if a complaint comes in, it will just sit there.’
A Trump campaign official refused to answer specific questions, and replied with this:
‘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.’
The Mueller Report Adventures: In Bite-Sizes on this Facebook page. These quick, two-minute reads interpret the report in normal English for busy people. Mueller Bite-Sizes uncovers what is essentially a compelling spy mystery. Interestingly enough, Mueller Bite-Sizes can be read in any order.