Trump Has Pocketed Over $500K From His Re-Election Campaign For Empty Trump Tower Office: Report
Trump’s re-election campaign is headquartered in Trump Tower, much to the benefit of the president’s bank account.
According to Federal Election Commission filings obtained by The Huffington Post, Trump’s re-election campaign spent over a half-million dollars last year for a Trump Tower office ― a choice that put donors’ money into the president’s pocket, but the office is basically empty.
Neither the campaign nor the Trump Organization would say how many square feet the campaign is currently leasing or what it is paying per square foot. On the commercial market, however, the building has been forced to drop its prices dramatically.
One Republican consultant close to the White House who is familiar with the office and its workload laughed when asked about the expense.
“There’s nobody there,” the consultant said on the condition of anonymity to avoid angering the leader of his party. “There is no campaign. There is no operation. It’s just a joke.”
Stuart Stevens, a GOP consultant who worked on the campaign of 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney, said donors should not be shocked that Trump is spending their money this way. “This is the least surprising president in history. He’s exactly the same person he was in the campaign,” Stevens said. “It’s what you signed up for.”
As noted by HuffPost:
“Trump made a practice of spending donor money at properties that he owned from the time he locked up the GOP nomination in the spring of 2016. The rent on the Trump Tower offices nearly quintupled, from $35,458 to $169,758 a month by July 2016, even though the number of campaign staff remained about the same. Trump also spent hundreds of thousands of donated dollars at his hotels and golf clubs, where he hosted fundraisers for himself and the party.
That habit continued into the first year of his presidency. With control of the Republican National Committee’s purse strings, Trump started to personally profit from contributions to that group as well.
In 2017, the RNC spent $232,042 at Trump International Hotel in Washington, $3,000 at Trump’s golf club in Miami and $1,228 at Trump Café in Trump Tower. The RNC also took over the monthly $37,542 rent payment for the re-election campaign’s space at Trump Tower in mid-autumn, spending a total of $150,169 by the end of the year. In the same period, it began paying the salary for campaign staffer John Pence, nephew to Vice President Mike Pence, which amounted to $28,412 by year’s end.”
The RNC did not respond to questions about why it took over the latter expenses. The move did coincide with the party’s decision to no longer pay the president’s legal expenses incurred as a result of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
The timing was first noted by CNBC, HuffPost noted.