Back in July, Donald Trump boasted that he had the best month for campaign fundraising—after all, he previously had been funding his presidential campaign largely out of his own pocket. As The New York Times reported in early August, donations for Trump steadily trickled in from small-time financial supporters over a period of two months after which he leveled the playing field with rival Hillary Clinton. Trump brought in $82 million in total donations by July’s end, compared with Clinton whose campaign had $90 million around the same time.
However, in light of Trump’s relatively newfound success on the donor front, it appears that he has been shuffling some of the intake into his own properties. Huffington Post suggested on Tuesday that a portion of Trump’s donor money is being funneled to the candidate’s personal estates.
According to reports, on May 18, roughly $1 million went missing from his campaign’s kitty. Over half of that amount, $600,000, went directly to businesses owned by Trump. Additionally, $423,000 went to Trump’s private Palm Beach estate Mar-a-Lago for hosting two parties and a conference. About $125,000 also went to Trump Restaurants LLC—an operator of restaurants in Trump Tower—on the same day.
Earlier in the day on May 18, Trump had signed with the Republican National Committee to create a joint-fundraising agreement. Now it’s looking like the RNC might be regretting that decision since Trump has been funneling donor money into not only his properties, but his businesses as well.
Paul S. Ryan of the Campaign Legal Center told Huffington Post, “Any way you slice it, this level of self-dealing looks bad. It looks like a candidate who is pocketing donors’ money.”
This doesn’t bode well for the candidate, yet his popularity is now neck-in-neck with Clinton in the current polls. However, while Clinton insists that she will continue to press Trump to release his tax returns, Trump hasn’t been a candidate known for his financial transparency.
Banner photo credit: Reuters