“That means the richest president in American history has turned $1.1 million from donors across the country into revenue for himself,” Forbes reported last week.
Trump hasn’t donated “a penny” of his own money to his re-election campaign, which was launched during his inaugural parties, Forbes noted.
In a 2000 interview with Fortune magazine, Trump boasted that if he ever ran for president, it’s “very possible that I could be the first presidential candidate to run and make money on it.”
Businesses owned by the president charged his own campaign for rent, hotel bills, catering and “legal consulting,” according to an analysis of federal election filings by Forbes.
Trump Tower Commercial LLC, wholly owned by the president, charged the re-election campaign $665,000 in rent, according to the documents. The Republican National Committee paid an additional $225,000 in rent, Forbes reported.
The president’s Trump Plaza LLC also collected $42,000 of campaign money for rent since late last year at its properties, which include a retail space with garage and twin Manhattan brownstones, according to Forbes. But there appears to be no campaign activity at any of the sites, according to the magazine.
After Robert Mueller was appointed special counsel to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, the campaign paid the Trump Corp. $90,000 in “legal consulting” fees, according to federal filings, though rates and details were not provided, Forbes reported. The corporation is owned by the president and run by sons Eric and Donald Trump Jr.
Trump’s 2020 campaign also spent about $120,000 at the president’s hotel in Washington, D.C., and $15,000 at the Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas. The Trump International Hotel in Washington, which the president leases from the federal government, is the target of a lawsuit by Maryland and the District of Columbia. The suit charges that Trump’s control of the hotel violates the emoluments clause of the Constitution, which bars federal officials from accepting gifts or benefits from foreign officials or countries. Several foreign officials and nations have spent substantial amounts of money at the hotel, which critics say are little more than bribes intended to curry favor with the president.
Federal Election Commission filings revealed that more than 20 percent of all expenditures by Trump’s re-election campaign in the first quarter of this year went to legal fees. The campaign spent a total of $3.9 million on the fees through the end of March, with $834,000 going to eight law firms and the Trump Corp. for legal expenses, according to the documents. The money was spent as the president dealt with the Mueller probe and battled court action by Stormy Daniels, whom he allegedly paid hush money to during the 2016 campaign to remain quiet about an affair.
A CNN analysis of FEC records found that a total of $3.2 million was paid to Trump-owned or -licensed properties by the Republican Party, various campaigns and political action committees in his first two years in office.
The nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics came up with a higher figure, $3.9 million, for the midterm election cycle.