According to a new filing with the Federal Elections Commission, Donald Trump’s kids have been profiting handily from his campaign — to date, his children and companies have been paid $7.7 million in campaign contributions — and that figure is on the rise.
Roughly 20 percent of Trump’s campaign spending in May, $1.1 million, went directly to his children — and another $800,000 did so in July.
It would seem the ostensible itinerant business mogul has discovered the grayest legal campaign loophole on which to opportunistically capitalize.
“Campaign finance laws on the topic are hazy and contradictory, largely because no candidate for federal office has ever had such a sprawling business empire that could be employed for a campaign,”wroteVice News’ Alex Thompson. “The FEC allows candidates to rent themselves their own office space — as the Trump campaign does at Trump Tower — but bans them from collecting royalties on any memoirs purchased by the campaign. Money ultimately flows back to the candidate in both cases but the FEC has issued divergent rules.”
Trump’s complex web of interconnected businesses and services — coupled with extensive family involvement — makes this known gray area in campaign finance law a bit shadier than would ordinarily be the case.
“The extent of Mr. Trump’s use of his own companies for goods and services during the campaign is unprecedented,” explained Paul S. Ryan, a campaign finance expert and Deputy Executive Director of The Campaign Legal Center, as quoted by Thompson. “It has the potential to transfer donations to himself and his children.”
In July, documents show, the billionaire demagogue’s campaign paid nearly $170,000 to Trump Tower Corporation LLC, “$48,239.77 for rent and catering at Trump National Golf Club in Westchester, $1,000 to Trump Restaurants LLC, and $428.53 worth of Trump's bottled water Trump Ice. In May, Trump's campaign spent $3,938.58 at the vineyard run by his son Eric,” Thompson wrote.
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Indeed because his seemingly countless businesses and their offshoots are inextricably tied to Trump, himself, as hefty contributions continue to increase as the general election nears, the billionaire’s children’s associates have been making a killing, as well.
Millions spent each month on apparel, such as the iconic red trucker hat bearing the “Make America Great Again” slogan, go to Ace Specialties — owned by board member of son Eric Trump’s charitable organization, Christl Mahfouz.
By sourcing the campaign’s goods and services as closely as possible to businesses run by Trump, his children, and their allies, he stays technically — if loosely — within the letter of the law of campaign finance.
But in order for any scrutinous evaluation of this incestuous campaign-to-business-to-family feedback loop to occur, as Thompson explained, either the Trump campaign would have to request the FEC get involved, or the FEC would have to initiate its own investigation — neither of which are likely to happen.
“The FEC isn’t going after anyone for anything these days,” Ryan flatly stated.
Unless an elections probe comes to fruition, Trump and his kids will continue to reap the rewards of a successful, if highly contentious, campaign bid — whether or not he ultimately wins the comfiest seat in the Oval Office.
Perhaps he planned it this way for years.
In 2000, Trump eerily prognosticated he could possibly “be the first presidential candidate to run and make money on it.”
In 2016, Americans get to choose from a warmongering criminal tyrant or a con artist whose ripping his supporters off to enrich himself. Bravo USA, Bravo.