With Donald Trump in the White House, Republican groups are spending more money at Trump properties, according to an ABC News analysis of Federal Election Commission reports.
After spending $237,000 at Trump properties between January 2007 and December 2014, Republican-affiliated campaigns, committees and outside groups have spent more than $3 million at various Trump properties just since the 2016 election. Of that, $924,000 came from the Republican National Committee.
In just the last month, ABC reported, citing FEC documents, the Republican National Committee spent more than $271,000 at various properties and venues owned by the president. It spent $79,000 in January alone at various Trump hotels, led by the Trump National Doral Miami resort in Florida and, of course, the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.
These payments include $37,541.67 per month in rent paid by the Republican National Committee for Trump’s New York campaign offices in Trump Tower for a total of $225,250 from September 2017 to January of this year after the Trump campaign stopped paying for the office space in August.
The Trump campaign paid no rent in February, although it continues to pay John Pence, the Trump campaign’s deputy executive director and nephew of the Vice-President Mike Pence, $7,000 a month to work there.
These latest payments “by the RNC to the Trump Organization for hotel space is a dramatic increase from any previous payments,” ABC reported.
The Trump Organization is the collective name of a group of approximately 500 business entities of which President Trump is the sole or principal owner. About 250 of them use the Trump name. It was begun by his grandmother and his father in 1923 as Elizabeth Trump & Son.
On top of that, ABC points out the Republican National Committee also has continued to pay consultants associated with President Trump. It paid Parscale Strategy LLC, owned by Brad Parscale, who was digital director of the 2016 campaign and has been named the director of the 2020 re-election campaign, $531,213 for fundraising services in February.
ABC reported Parscale has made more than $100 million since he joined team Trump “from various contracts he has with the Trump campaign and Trump’s joint fundraising committee, along with the RNC and pro-Trump super PAC going back to 2015.”
Also, the Republican National Committee paid $15,000 in February and $90,000 since last October to KS Global Group LLC, headed by Keith Schiller, Trump’s former bodyguard, for security services.
The Republican National Committee and the Trump for President campaign are private organizations free to spend their money in any way they can get their donors to approve. And it should not be surprising that groups in or near the president’s party gravitate to his properties. The Obama stores that emerged early in President Obama’s administration drew crowds of interested people and made money selling to the Democratic Party and its member and affiliated organizations as well. It’s cool to be seen at the president’s hotel, restaurant or resort.
But because Trump is involved the mainstream media sees it differently.
“Trump properties profit from public service,” the Boston Herald wrote in December. “For political campaigns, special interest groups and even foreign governments, the path to influence with the Trump administration – and to profits for Trump and his family – often goes through Trump-owned private properties.”
Newsweek reported on another analysis of groups spending at Trump properties and leaped to the same conclusion. “A study released Tuesday by the non-profit Public Citizen said that these groups clearly intended to win over the president by helping his business empire profit as he sat in the Oval Office.”
“There is no way to escape the conclusion that these events are being held at the Trump properties as a way to curry favor with the president,” it quoted Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, as telling NBC News. “It’s just extraordinarily unlikely that these groups have an affinity for the Trump brand that’s so great that’s so unrelated to the fact that the president happens to be named Trump.”