On Monday, following the release of President Donald Trump’s latest FEC report for his presidential re-election campaign, OpenSecrets researcher Anna Massoglia noted an interesting fact about the $8.8 million the campaign spent at the beginning of the year: more than $150,000 of it went to his own businesses:
NEW: Trump 2020 re-election campaign's FEC disclosure reports raising $30.3M in the start of 2019 & spending $8.8M, $168,333.15 of that went to Trump businesses with $25,436 on "Legal & IT consulting" & the rest on rent or travel expenses at Trump Tower, restaurants & properties pic.twitter.com/hbSAAoVLVT# p #2_6 # ad skipped = true #
— Anna Massoglia (@annalecta) April 15, 2019# p #3_6 # ad skipped = true #
The president has been known for eye-catchingly unusual campaign expenditures. For example, in his 2016 campaign, Trump spent more on red MAGA hats than he did on internal polling.
But payments to businesses within the Trump Organization raise the possibility that the president is essentially diverting money designated for campaign use into his family’s personal fortune.
Trump’s time in office has been dogged by questions about how he mingles his office, campaign and businesses, as the lines between them are often blurry. A lawsuit currently making its way through the federal courts asserts the president has violated the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution by billing exorbitant prices to foreign diplomats for rooms at his D.C. hotel, which he is leasing from the federal government in the first place.