The latest Federal Election Commission filings were made public over the weekend, and they had a few interesting tidbits on Donald Trump.
Donald Trump's campaign paid more than $1.8 million to vendors for various campaign merchandise — $400,ooo on those hats alone. For months, we've been talking about how few people his campaign employs, and it turns out that the campaign is spending half of what they spent on merchandise ($921,000).
Where it gets wild is that a lot of the money that Trump is spending (staff and merchandise notwithstanding) appears to be going back into Trump's businesses.
According to Quartz:
The campaign has spent $7.7 million at Trump family companies, about 9% of his total campaign spending. The bulk, $5.6 million, went to Trump’s private jet company, as well as payments to various Trump buildings for office and living space, including Trump Tower in New York City ($881,000) and the Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida ($432,000). The campaign has paid Eric Trump’s winery almost $5,000, and reimbursed Donald Trump, Jr. almost $20,000 in travel costs. Trump has said he won’t ask his campaign to pay back the “almost $50 million” he has loaned it—which now totals $47.5 million.
But wait, there's more! The Trump campaign spent $55,055 at Barnes & Noble to purchase between 3,500 and 5,000 copies of his own book, depending on whether they bought the hardcover or paperback edition.
The Daily Beast asked the Trump campaign why they had bought so many copies, and a spokesperson said that the books were purchased "as part of gifting at the convention, which we have to do."
It's not illegal for the campaign to spend so much money on Trump's book, unless Trump received royalties from it.
“It’s fine for a candidate’s book to be purchased by his committee, but it’s impermissible to receive royalties from the publisher,” Paul Ryan of the Campaign Legal Center said. “That amounts to an illegal conversion of campaign funds to personal use. There’s a well established precedent from the FEC that funds from the campaign account can’t end up in your own pocket.”