Over recent years, Trump has continued spending money originating with donations to various political and fundraising groups associated with him at his own properties, and the totals are getting rather large.
The set-up means money from those seeking to politically support Trump in some context is instead bulking up bank accounts associated with the ex-president and his businesses. A new article in HuffPost outlines at least $905,570 in spending by Trump groups at his properties from January 20, 2021, to the end of the following year, meaning 2022. HuffPost notes that this general practice of Trump campaign donations ending up in coffers used for the now former president’s businesses extends back to the 2016 campaign, when he used office space at one of his own buildings for that bid for the White House, charging his campaign rent — which meant he was making money in very direct terms. That continued after the Republican National Committee started covering the costs.
Reportedly, roughly half the charges recapped by HuffPost were at Trump Tower in Manhattan, where there were even more rent payments made for dubiously designated space after Trump exited the presidency. What is apparently a successor organization to the Trump campaign itself gave $412,958 for so-called rent. “The practice stopped immediately after HuffPost published an article about it,” that site said. Mar-a-Lago was also on the other end of some of the payments, raking in $137,272 — roughly half of which came relatively recently, since around the time Trump formally confirmed he was running for president again in the 2024 race.
The Save America PAC, which is another Trump org that has been involved in his fundraising since leaving office, is among the targets of investigative efforts at the Justice Department led by Special Counsel Jack Smith, who recent reports noted had issued subpoenas to vendors who did business with the Trump team, which could allow prosecutors to examine the flow of funds and whether front entities were involved. It’s unclear if the self-dealing is a subject of Smith’s investigations, since it’s also unclear it’s illegal, even if it’s profoundly unethical in what would no doubt be the estimation of many.
There could be problems for Trump or others because of the deception associated with the fundraising, though, some of which was conducted on the basis of false claims about the 2020 election and false contentions of a so-called “Election Defense Fund” that did not actually exist. Large portions of what Trump raked in never came anywhere near actual efforts to substantively push back on the 2020 results in, say, court.
Per HuffPost, there’s been talk of political concerns, at least for Republicans, connected to the pace of Trump’s fundraising, considering the money from Republican donors he’s scooping up for his own purposes, including tens of millions to lawyers, some of whom might now need lawyers themselves. There is also a larger portion of money simply still on hand at a Trump-connected super PAC cited by HuffPost called Make America Great Again Inc. than that organization even spent on candidates in the 2022 elections. And there are still more concerns, like the millions provided for the Trump family business that evidently originated with a Saudi fund led by that country’s infamous Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for hosting events as part of LIV Golf.