Trump living large on donor money
Donald Trump is a grifter.
On the night of this spring’s Florida primary, the pastor giving the invocation at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago victory party prayed: “Lord, give Mr. Trump the power to rise above the GOP establishment.”
Turns out the prayer worked. Not only did Trump win the Republican presidential nomination, but two months later, on May 18, Trump signed a deal with the Republican National Committee giving him access to a top-notch fundraising operation after not having had one at all through the primaries.
That same day, Trump’s campaign, now set to receive tens of millions of dollars of other people’s money, finally sent five- and six-figure checks to Trump’s properties for events that had happened months earlier. Meaning that the GOP establishment had not only been defeated, it was now actually paying for that March 15 victory party attended primarily by members of Trump’s Palm Beach country club.
In all, just shy of $1 million went out the door on May 18. More than $600,000 of that went to Trump-owned businesses, with $423,000 of it going to Mar-a-Lago alone, which hosted that March 15 party, an earlier one on March 1 and a news conference on March 11.
It’s unclear from Federal Election Commission filings what other expenses, if any, that payment covered ― it is listed as “facility rental/catering,” and the resort does not appear to have hosted any other campaign events. Trump’s campaign would not provide an explanation. Had Trump instead chosen to hold those events at the nearby West Palm Beach Marriott, he likely would have spent no more than $45,000 for all three, based on its estimates for catering the number of people who attended his parties.
What’s more, the two-month delay in reporting those expenses may have violated Federal Election Commission rules, which require an expense to be disclosed in the same reporting period ― in Trump’s case, in the same month ― as it was incurred, said a campaign finance law expert.