Trump Moved More Than $1 Million From His Political Groups To His Private Business After Losing The Election
Donald Trump never stopped raising funds from his supporters after the 2020 presidential race. His companies, meanwhile, continued to charge his political outfits for goods and services. As a result, the former president has been able to convert about $1.3 million of donor money into business revenue since he lost the 2020 election, according to a review of the latest federal filings.
In the months immediately following the election, much of the money came via Trump’s official campaign committee, Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. On December 1, 2020, the committee paid $38,000 in rent to Trump Tower Commercial LLC, the entity through which the former president owns space inside Trump Tower. Fifteen days later, another $38,000 of rent moved from the campaign committee to that same LLC. The committee also made two payments of $3,000 at about the same time to an entity named Trump Restaurants LLC. The former president, who is worth an estimated $3 billion, also owns 100% of that company, according to an analysis of documents his business submitted to federal and local officials while he was president. Between the election and the end of 2020, Trump’s campaign committee handed over $113,000 to Trump’s business.
In the New Year, Trump didn’t really shut down his campaign committee. Instead, he renamed it, turning it into the Make America Great Again PAC. Beginning on January 4, 2021, that PAC started funneling money to the Trump Organization, handing $8,000 to the Trump Hotel Collection by the end of the month. The group also wrote rent checks to the same entities that the campaign had been previously paying—$38,000 to Trump Tower Commercial LLC every month or so and often another $3,000 to Trump Restaurants LLC. It’s unclear why the Make America Great Again PAC still needed to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars of rent in 2021, given that the election took place in 2020. Representatives of the PAC and the Trump Organization did not respond to requests for comment. By the end of February 2022, the Make America Great Again PAC had paid $526,000 to Trump’s companies, according to the review of Federal Election Commission filings.
It’s unclear why the Make America Great Again PAC still needed to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars of rent in 2021, given that the election took place in 2020.
While the campaign committee and its rebranded offshoot cut big rent checks, other Trump political groups splurged at the former president’s hotels. Nine days after the election, a joint-fundraising committee named Trump Victory, which gathered funds for the Trump campaign and several state-level Republican groups, paid $294,000 to the Trump Hotel Collection. Smaller sums followed. Trump Victory ended up spending more than $300,000 from the election to February 2021, when it last recorded paying a Trump property.
Other entities picked up the slack. In June 2021, a joint-fundraising committee that collects money for Trump and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) paid Trump’s hotels $22,000. Six months later, a different joint-fundraising committee handed Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s Palm Beach club, $34,000.
Then there was Trump’s leadership PAC, Save America. Leadership PACs often allow politicians to dole out money to other candidates they support. In Trump’s case, the group also served as a vehicle for directing donor money into his business. From February 2021 to May 2022, Trump’s leadership PAC spent $213,000 at Trump properties.
The Save America payments generated some press recently, as the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the United States Capitol took note of the group’s operations. The former president told supporters that they could donate to something called the Official Election Defense Fund, even though that fund apparently didn’t exist, according to the committee. Most of the money instead went to Save America, which in turn paid a small portion to Trump’s business. “Not only was there the Big Lie,” concluded Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a Democrat from California. “There was the big rip-off.”