Another 'Unprecedented' First for Trump & Co.

Donald's campaign has paid out $8.2M to his family businesses
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 22, 2016 9:11 AM CDT
Updated Sep 22, 2016 10:00 AM CDT
Trump Companies Reaped $8.2M From Campaign: Report
Donald Trump speaks during a campaign stop Wednesday in Dayton, Ohio.   (Ty Greenlees /Dayton Daily News via AP, Pool)

The word "unprecedented" has been used many times in association with Donald Trump's presidential run, and now Politico has another to add to the list. The site found the GOP nominee's campaign has paid $8.2 million out to his own family's businesses, or about 7% of the total $119 million his campaign has spent. These Trump company payments include $1.3 million for rent for his campaign's offices, $544,000 for event and meeting venues and victuals, and $333,000 paid to Trump staffers helping with the campaign. And while this mixture of business and politics may not be illegal—though Politico notes it's hard to tell, as Trump hasn't released his taxes, which could shed light on how his businesses are structured—its practice has "raised eyebrows" of campaign finance experts, as the New York Times put it in June when it first talked about Trump's self-funding efforts.

"It's unique to have somebody who is independently wealthy and is able to so thoroughly integrate a privately held company into their campaign," a GOP election lawyer tells Politico. Some point suspiciously to a statement Trump made in 2001 in which he noted: "It's very possible that I could be the first presidential candidate to run and make money on it." A Campaign Legal Center rep told the Times Trump could turn a profit with his run, while an NYU election law expert noted it's "something to keep an eye on": Once donor money is kept for one's self (or one's family), it "crosses the line." While Hillary Clinton hasn't yet addressed the Politico report, she noted Trump's finance finagling in June, tweeting: "What is Trump spending his meager campaign resources on? Why, himself, of course." (Meanwhile, the Trump campaign's still paying Corey Lewandowski.)

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