An analysis of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's campaign finance filings found that he has paid out more than $8.2 million to his own businesses.
According to the Politico analysis, Trump’s campaign has paid various Trump-owned businesses for services, including $1.3 million in rent for his campaign offices, $544,000 for food and facilities for events and meetings, and $333,000 in payroll for Trump corporate staffers that provide services such as security.
Of the total $199 million Trump’s campaign has spent, 7 percent of payments have gone to Trump-owned businesses.
It is uncommon for political figures to use their own business resources because it can be illegal if they are not structured properly, and it can lead to allegations of pocket-padding for one’s own benefit.
It appears that Trump’s businesses are likely properly structured so his campaign can legally use them. A review of his tax returns could explain all of this, but Trump has refused to release them publicly.
The GOP presidential candidate has also given his campaign $54 million of his own money.
According to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission, more than $500,000 in services such as rent, software, and staff from Trump-owned businesses were given to his campaign. It is possible that these companies are LLCs or sole proprietorships, which federal election law allows donations from to campaigns, as they are considered to be from an individual.
Trump’s companies may have written off the costs of these donated services, or he could have personally reimbursed the campaign for them.
The analysis of Trump’s campaign finance filings comes just days after a review of legal documents and interviews by The Washington Post found that he allegedly used more than a quarter-million dollars from his charitable foundation to settle lawsuits brought against his for-profit businesses.
A total of $258,000 from the Donald J. Trump Foundation was reportedly spent to settle lawsuits against his businesses. One of the cases was from 2007 against his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida. Another was against a Trump golf course in New York.
Money from the foundation was also used by Trump to purchase a portrait of himself at a fundraiser.
Should the IRS find that Trump has violated self-dealing rules, he will be required to pay penalty taxes or reimburse the foundation for the money it spent on his behalf.
The New York attorney general’s office is also reportedly reviewing whether he broke state charity laws.