The rent remained stagnant for almost a year — or until the billionaire stopped shelling out his own money, to be precise.
As The Huffington Post reports, the Republican presidential nominee began increasing the rent at Trump Tower once he started collecting money from donor. The campaign paid $72,800 in May, $110,684 in June and finally $169,758 in July — almost 500 percent more than what was being paid when the campaign was self-financed.
Moreover, the expenses went up despite reduced number of paid employees and consultants, which reportedly went from 166 in May to 139 in June and then to 172 in July.
Considering how Trump himself owns the building, the sudden increase in rent is more than suspicious.
Actually, it appears to be a straightforward case of extortion.
“If I was a donor, I’d want answers,” a Republican National Committee member told the publication. “If they don’t have any more staff, and they’re paying five times more? That’s the kind of stuff I’d read and try to make an (attack) ad out of it.”
Trump campaign has also used the donation money to pay Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach ($29,715), Trump National Golf Club in Florida ($35,845) and Trump Restaurants LLC ($125,080), according to Federal Election Commission records.
The payments, though unusual when Trump was self-funding, were supposedly made for Trump campaign events held there.
The Huffington Post also reported that Trump hosted a lot more expensive campaign events on his own property after finalizing a joint-fundraising deal with the Republican National Committee in May. In fact, on the day the deal was announced, the campaign paid Trump-related businesses over $190,000.
You're giving money to Trump so he can pay rent and change his mind on his only core issue.— Gideon Resnick (@GideonResnick) August 23, 2016
If you're a Trump supporter and you don't feel this is a problem, please tweet an explanation as to why. Thanks. https://t.co/MJ3SfNdbcp— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) August 23, 2016
Mr. Trump, why did you quintuple the rent on your Trump Tower office once you started taking donations? pic.twitter.com/XSSsTq9RT4— Dave Itzkoff (@ditzkoff) August 23, 2016