The Trump campaign has paid $1.7 million into Trump-owned businesses. All of that money has come from his campaign donors because Donald Trump has not yet put any of his own money into the campaign coffers.
Forbes reports the biggest recipient of campaign funds is Trump Tower Commercial LLC. This is the part of the President’s business empire that controls his Manhattan skyscraper. At least $1.2 million has been paid in rent from the campaign, and that doesn’t include the $225,000 the RNC has paid out to the company.
To put that in perspective, the Gucci store that rents 49,000 square feet of storefront space on Fifth Avenue pays $21 million per year in rent. Trump’s official campaign store (the one that sells those red hats) rents out a much smaller space in the basement of Trump Tower.
Since Trump was elected, his shop has paid out over $80,000 in rent—making the price-per-square-foot higher for that small basement shop than Gucci is paying for a street-level Fifth Avenue space.
A spokesperson for the Trump Organization gives assurances that all expenditures are “in compliance with the law.” Yet it seems likelier that the President is putting his thumb on the scale with the rent he is charging his own campaign.
Another one of the President’s companies, Trump Plaza LLC, has been collecting $3,850 in rent from the Trump campaign each month. Trump Plaza oversees a Third Avenue property that contains seven storefronts, eight residential units, and over 100 parking spaces.
It isn’t clear what the campaign is actually renting for nearly $4,000 per month, but former campaign staffers have admitted to staying overnight in an apartment at that location. The Trump Corporation, another company, collected $65,000 in campaign money so far in 2019, already an increase from last year.
In essence, the President has managed to grift nearly $2 million dollars of donor money from his campaign into his own businesses.