Trump has already funneled nearly $1 million in donor cash to himself since leaving office

Former President Donald Trump did not spend most of the donor money he received in the past two years to help his own presidential bid — or the GOP as a whole — while putting nearly $1 million into his own properties. 

Since leaving office through the end of last year, Trump’s various political action committees (PACs) spent $905,570 at his properties, according to an analysis of new Federal Election Commission filings by HuffPost.

The analysis showed that the former president’s Save America leadership PAC spent $94,462 on a Trump hotel on Central Park West in Manhattan on Dec. 10, 2021, and $1,122 on his West Palm Beach golf course on Dec. 12, 2022. His campaign also paid $48 tabs at his Mar-a-Lago social club on Nov. 18, 2022. 

The fund allocation shows a pattern where donor money is converted into revenue at the former president’s businesses, with the final profits lining Trump’s pockets. Trump’s campaign did not respond to questions regarding the matter from HuffPost, however, this is not the first time he has used large amounts of money from PACs to benefit himself.

During his 2016 presidential campaign, Trump established his headquarters at his own Manhattan building, which helped turn office spaces that were previously unoccupied into cash. After securing the GOP nomination, the funding of for the office space became the Republican National Committee’s responsibility, which led to Trump quintupling the rent he was charging himself.

Over the past two years, Trump Tower received the biggest share of money from Trump committees with a total of $412,958 from the “Make America Great Again PAC,” his renamed and reconstituted 2020 campaign committee, in the form of $37,542 monthly payments over a period of 11 months.

In the FEC filings, the payments were listed as “rent,” but no political committee work actually occurred in the building. The funds stopped as soon as HuffPost published an article about it in early 2022. 

The New York City hotel gained $336,218 from Trump committee money, and his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, also received $137,272, including $68,988 once Trump made it the location for his 2024 campaign announcement on Nov. 15, 2022.

Want a daily wrap-up of all the news and commentary Salon has to offer? Subscribe to our morning newsletter, Crash Course.

Raising money for Save America became Trump’s biggest goal as soon as he lost the re-election to President Joe Biden in 2020. Right after the election, he sent out dozens of fundraising emails and text messages to 20 million supporters, claiming that he would use the money to challenge results in states which Biden won, as well as to help two GOP senators in Georgia in their runoff elections. However, he didn’t use any of the funding for those purposes. 

After criticism from Republicans who said he should have used the huge war chest to help GOP candidates who were actually on the midterm ballot, he transferred most of the Save America cash to a new super PAC run by one of his former aides. They ended up spending $15 million on Republican candidates who Trump endorsed since they were willing to publicly spread his unfounded claims about a stolen election.

The former president doled out a total of $760,000 to 152 House and Senate candidates, giving them each $5,000 for their campaigns. However, this is a minuscule amount compared to the $27.3 million he has paid to lawyers for the multiple lawsuits open against him. 

The majority of the candidates Trump supported ended up losing, and a large amount of cash — $54 million — remained with the super PAC, Make America Great Again Inc. 

They will now be able to use that funding to boost his 2024 candidacy, which is something Save America is not legally allowed to do.

Despite the various criminal investigations against him, Trump is still the favored candidate for the 2024 Republican nomination according to several polls.

Read more

about Trump’s fundraising