Buying a presidency: Figures show Trump spent $66 million of his own cash on campaign
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump pumped a total of $66 million of his own money into his campaign – far from the $100 million he frequently boasted he was going to spend, according to campaign finance disclosures filed on Thursday night.
Trump-related business industries – those bearing his own name, including his private jet and the Manhattan building that served as his campaign headquarters – received $11 million in payments from his campaign.
Trump shocked the political world when he defeated Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in the Nov. 8 election for the White House, overcoming a spending deficit and outperforming polls in several swing states to propel him to victory.
Earlier this week, Trump’s campaign revealed that he sold his entire stock portfolio in June, a holding that was estimated at about $40 million.
Opting to liquidate his assets could have been a move to pump cash into his campaign, which at the time was struggling to raise funds from private donors. The move to sell his stocks came weeks after he forgave about $47 million in loans he had already given his campaign.
In total, Trump raised $339 million and spent $322 million – a far cry from the $565 million spent by Clinton, according to the latest Federal Election Commission disclosure reports. Trump spent $94 million in the final days of the campaign, compared with the $132 million spent by Clinton.
Trump frequently promised to run a shoe-string campaign and argued his self-funding model meant he wasn’t obligated to any special interests.
He blasted polling as a useless art and pollsters as a waste of money as he overcame 16 Republican foes during the primary election season in early 2016. Trump rode to victory on more than $5 billion in “free” television on news programs that provided wall-to-wall coverage of his every word, according to data analytics firm mediaQuant.
But when the realities of the general election began to sink in – and Trump’s poll numbers sank – he shifted and began spending money on polling and television ads.
In total, Trump spent $107 million on advertising, including television ads, and another $85 million in digital and online advertising. His second largest expense was air travel, totaling $26 million and accounting for more campaign spending than his payroll.
(Reporting by Ginger Gibson in WASHINGTON and Grant Smith in NEW YORK; Editing by Paul Tait)