It just keeps going: Since Donald Trump’s inauguration, Republican groups have continued to shovel money into his own pockets. These aren’t gifts to his campaign: They’re payments to him, personally. The Republican National Committee, the Trump “reelection campaign”, and outside groups are funneling their donors’ money into Trump’s businesses, and whatever profits arise from those transactions go to Donald Trump himself.
Trump’s reelection campaign has spent $670,000 at Trump properties since he was elected president, and $125,000 during the first three months of this year alone, recent disclosures show.
But Trump’s campaign is not the only group paying Trump’s companies for events, catering and sometimes even rent: The Republican National Committee has also paid $1.1 million to Trump properties since the election. Outside PACs supporting Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have also been two of the biggest political spenders at Trump properties during that time.
Because Trump has maintained his financial interest in his vast business while president — and, unlike previous presidents, filed for reelection soon after taking office — the relationship between pro-Trump political groups and the Trump businesses has no precedent.
That the Trump “reelection” campaign started so early and has spent so lavishly at Trump’s properties suggests that funneling donor money to Trump personally may be more by design than by accident. And it’s not shy about the practice.
For the Trump campaign, the biggest expense at the Trump business is rent at Trump Tower in Manhattan. The Trump campaign has spent more than $500,000 total on rent at Trump Tower since the election. It has also spent more than $100,000 at the Trump International Hotel, mostly on events and catering.
Trump’s business also appears to have paid for the water drank by campaign staff: The Trump campaign paid $1,768 in 2017 to Trump’s bottled water company, Trump Ice LLC.
In transaction after transaction, pro-Trump political groups are collecting donor cash, paying that cash to Trump as “business” transactions, and allowing the sitting president to pocket the proceeds. It’s the sort of open grift that fretting Republicans were beside themselves just imagining, a few years ago; now the party committee itself is writing the checks and nobody, among Republican lawmakers, intends to lift a finger to stop it.