Occupying the presidency is proving to be good for Trump's personal bottom line.
Trump started his re-election campaign on the day he was sworn into office — and he's been personally profiting from it ever since. Already, the Trump campaign has spent at least $1.1 million of donors' money at companies Trump owns, making him that much richer.
The expenditures, detailed in the most recent round of campaign finance disclosures, show a continued pattern of Trump using his campaign to enrich himself. In the 2016 electoral cycle, for example, for every $10 donated to the campaign, Trump pocketed $1 for himself.
Forbes reports that Trump Tower Commercial LLC, which is wholly owned by Trump, has charged his re-election campaign $665,000 to date. Additionally, there was a joint expenditure by his campaign and the Republican National Committee (RNC) to spend $225,000 at Trump Tower.
That spending represents the payment of $6,300 in monthly rent for every person officially listed on the campaign payroll. By comparison, the 2016 campaign paid $2,700 per person to Trump Tower.
That is an increase of 133 percent. Occupying the presidency is proving to be good for Trump's personal bottom line.
The campaign also has paid $42,000 to Trump Plaza LLC for a mysterious rental at the Trump Plaza complex. Forbes went to the property and found "no signs of campaign activity" at the location despite the expenditure.
The outlet also staked out two brownstone buildings owned by Trump Plaza LLC for 14 hours and couldn’t find any evidence of a campaign.
A Forbes reporter spoke to a man at the front desk of Trump Plaza, who said there was no campaign office at that location.
"If there was any kind of office rented out for campaigning or whatever, I would know about it," he said.
In addition to the payments for phantom campaign space, the rent being paid is also suspiciously high.
Trump Plaza LLC received an average of $4,200 a month from the Trump campaign, but online listings for the same building show rent closer to the $3,700-3850 per month range.
It isn't just rent and real estate.
The Trump Corporation received a payment from the campaign for $90,000 that was described as "legal consulting." The payment came a month after Robert Mueller was named special counsel to investigate the relationship between Russia and Trump's 2016 campaign.
Trump hotels are in on the action as well. The Trump hotel in Washington, D.C., which has benefitted greatly from Trump's corruption in the last two years, received $120,000 from the campaign. Trump's Las Vegas hotel has received another $15,000.
All of this means Trump and his family stand to make millions of dollars from his re-election efforts.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.