POLITICS
12/09/2016 01:11 am ET

Trump Pays His Own Businesses $3 Million In Days Surrounding Election

In all, Trump’s campaign funneled more than $12 million to entities he controls.

Steve Pope via Getty Images
President-elect Donald Trump speaks in Des Moines, Iowa, on Thursday. New Federal Election Commission filings show Trump spent $3 million of campaign money at his own businesses from Oct. 20 to Nov. 28.

WASHINGTON ― Donald Trump’s presidential campaign sent Donald Trump’s businesses $2.9 million in the final days prior to and the weeks following his election.

Trump’s Miami golf club, where he staged an Oct. 25 news conference to showcase his employees who like him, received $13,015. Trump’s hotel in Las Vegas received $176,933 for lodgings from his presidential campaign and $60,442 more from a joint fundraising committee for Trump and the Republican National Committee.

Trump Tower in Manhattan, meanwhile, received a whopping $462,011 in rent, including $283,500 on Nov. 28 – nearly $114,000 more than the campaign had been paying for its headquarters space for the previous several months.

The president-elect’s transition team did not respond to a Huffington Post query regarding the higher rent payment.

The figures are contained in new filings Thursday night by the campaign and related committees with the Federal Election Commission. The filings cover the six weeks from Oct. 20 to Nov. 28

The burst of spending brings to more than $12 million the total Trump has funneled back to his businesses since the start of the campaign. It continues his pattern of choosing to spend donors’ money at his own properties for events and on his own airplane for travel, even though it meant spending considerably more than comparable alternatives.

Trump paid his West Palm Beach, Florida, golf resort $29,715 in May following a “victory” party he held there March 5. He sent $35,845 to his club in nearby Jupiter after a March 8 party. In both cases, the attendees were mainly dues-paying members of the clubs rather than campaign staff or volunteers. And in both cases he could have held his party at the West Palm Beach Marriott for less than half of what he spent.

Also in May, Trump paid his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach $423,372 in campaign funds even though he had held only two victory parties and a news conference there two months earlier.

Trump similarly chose to rent office space at New York’s Trump Tower at about $100 per square foot ― about three times the rate the Clinton campaign had been paying for its headquarters in Brooklyn. Trump’s rent ― $169,758 a month ― jumped nearly five times higher once he secured the nomination and was spending donor money rather than his own.

Trump bragged throughout his campaign that he was paying for it all himself and therefore was not beholden to special interest groups or lobbyists as were other candidates. In reality, though, there were only two periods when Trump accounted for most of his campaign’s cash: prior to its official start in June 2015 and then in the early months of 2016, when he kicked in $38 million when it seemed as if the Republican establishment might block his nomination.

Through much of 2015, his campaign was largely fueled by buyers of “Make America great again” hats and other souvenirs. After he secured the nomination, the lion’s share of campaign expenses were paid by donors ― both those who contributed four-, five- and even six-figure checks to him and the Republican National Committee, and those who contributed small amounts.

Even though Trump often claimed in the campaign’s final weeks that he had spent more than $100 million, that also was not true. The FEC filings show he spent a total of $66 million ― $47.5 million of that in the primaries ― with a final $10 million in the closing days of the campaign.

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