Trump and his allies continue to pour donor money into Trump's businesses

GOP organizations have spent at least $750,000 at Trump properties this year.

August 05, 2021, 9:23 AM

Donald Trump may be out of office, but political donor money continues to pour into his properties across the country.

In just the first six months of this year, dozens of Republican campaigns and political groups have together spent at least $750,000 at Trump properties, with nearly half of that coming from fundraising committees directly affiliated with or linked to Trump himself, according to federal and state campaign disclosure reports.

Of that $750,000, the largest chunk was spent by the Make America Great Again PAC, Trump's presidential campaign committee-turned political action committee, which paid the former president's businesses more than $210,000 from January through June.

Much of that came from five monthly rent payments of $40,000 each for office space at Trump Tower in New York City, while the rest came from nearly $8,000 in lodging expenses at Trump hotels.

Trump's new PAC, Save America, also reported paying nearly $80,000 to the "Trump Hotel Collection" for lodging and meals over the six months since Trump left the White House.

Trump properties have also continued to serve as a favorite venue for high-dollar fundraisers for his political committees.

His joint fundraising committee with South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham spent more than $22,000 for a golf tournament hosted at Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Florida, in May, which reportedly cost participants $25,000 each. Make America Great Again Action, a new pro-Trump super PAC led by former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, spent about the same amount at a fundraiser at Trump's golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey. The committee's disclosure filing doesn't show how much it raised from the fundraiser, but overall it reported raising roughly $705,000 in April and May.

The Republican National Committee, which continues to raise money off Trump's name in fundraising emails and messages, spent at least $191,000 at various Trump properties over the last six months, including $176,000 at Trump's Mar-a-Lago Club for a spring GOP donor retreat earlier this year.

PHOTO: In this Feb. 10, 2021, file photo, former President Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort is seen in Palm Beach, Fla.
In this Feb. 10, 2021, file photo, former President Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort is seen in Palm Beach, Fla.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images, FILE

On the Trump campaign's spending at Trump's properties, former Trump campaign spokesperson Tim Murtaugh previously said that "the campaign pays fair market value and abides by all FEC laws and regulations."

Since leaving the White House in January, the former president has settled in Florida, bringing dozens of his close allies and other Republicans to his properties in the Sunshine State.

A number of Republican politicians and political hopefuls have visited his Mar-a-Lago Club over the last six months for fundraisers, photo ops and other political events in the hope of appealing to Trump's loyal supporters or netting an endorsement from the former president himself.

Two GOP Senate hopefuls from Alabama, Rep. Mo Brooks -- who earlier this year voted to overturn the 2020 election results -- and Lynda Blanchard, who is also vying for Trump's endorsement, spent $26,000 and $25,000, respectively, at Mar-a-Lago.

Ohio Senate candidate Josh Mandel's fundraising committee also spent roughly $32,000 at the club.

And at least a dozen other GOP campaigns together spent tens of thousands of dollars at various Trump properties in Florida, including Trump National Doral and the Trump Golf Club in Palm Beach, during the first half of the year.

PHOTO: In this Oct. 31, 2016, file photo, the Trump International Hotel Washington, D.C. at the Old Post Office is shown in Washington, D.C.
In this Oct. 31, 2016, file photo, the Trump International Hotel Washington, D.C. at the Old Post Office is shown in Washington, D.C.
GC Images via Getty Images, FILE

While Trump associates and supporters have long flocked to his properties in Florida and New Jersey, their preferred Washington, D.C., destination while Trump was president was the Trump International Hotel, on the site of the city's historic Old Post Office. Since opening in late 2016, shortly before Trump took office, the D.C. hotel has raked in millions of dollars hosting numerous fundraisers for various campaigns and political groups, as well as serving as his supporters' favorite place to gather, lodge and dine in the capital.

But so far this year, it appears that the action -- and the money -- has followed Trump from D.C. to Florida. Trump's D.C. hotel hasn't hosted many big events, with several congressional campaigns reporting smaller-scale meal and lodging expenditures that total only $15,000.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee and Florida Sen. Rick Scott held a fundraiser featuring Newt Gingrich at the D.C. hotel in late June, but that expenditure has yet to be reported.

In total, since Trump began his run for president in 2015, his political operation and various other federal campaigns have paid Trump's businesses $20 million, including more than $7 million during the 2020 election cycle, according to ProPublica's analysis of federal campaign disclosure reports.

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story mistakenly identified one of those named in the financial disclosures as Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley. The person named in the report is Ohio Senate candidate Josh Mandel.

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