When Donald Trump ran for president in 2016, he promised to "drain the swamp" and declare war on crony capitalism — and he insisted that if he was elected, there would be a strict separation between his presidency and his business interests. But Dan Alexander, in Forbes, reports that according to Federal Election Commission filings, Trump's campaign has so far paid $2.3 million in campaign funds to his private businesses.
"The most recent expenses look familiar," Alexander notes. "The president accepted $38,000 in rent last month through Trump Tower Commercial LLC, the entity that owns his Fifth Avenue skyscraper."
In July, according to the FEC filings, Trump's campaign paid $8000 to the Trump Corporation for "legal and IT consulting." And Trump's campaign also coordinated with the Republican National Committee to pay Trump Tower Commercial LLC $225,000.
In July, the FEC filings show, Trump Hotel Collection received $1,000 from his campaign. And some of the $2.3 million went to Trump Restaurants LLC.
According to Alexander, the Trump Restaurants payments "may be connected to a kiosk in the basement of Trump Tower that sells campaign memorabilia. It's hard to imagine that the kiosk has been doing much business amid the coronavirus crisis, but the campaign has continued to pay its rent: $3000 per month. Trump Restaurants LLC has gotten $117,000 since its owner became president."
Alexander reports, "Trump's machinations have been going on for years now. Forbes first reported on money moving from his reelection campaign to his business in 2018. The amount has more than doubled since then."
Business Insider's Sonam Sheth, discussing the FEC filings and Forbes' reporting, notes, "This isn't the first time the president's campaign has become entangled with his personal finances. In July, the Washington Post's David Fahrenthold reported that Trump's campaign sent nearly $400,000 to the Trump Organization in just two days."
According to Sheth, "The RNC has spent more than $2 million at Trump Organization hotels and resorts. And Trump's campaign, which is funded in part by donations from the president's supporters and big-dollar donors, has spent more than $14 million at his properties."