There’s been a lot of chatter about Trump preferring large rallies and press conferences, instead of spending his campaign’s cash on traditional expenditures like field organization and TV ads. It calls into question whether he is really trying to win—or setting up his own future media empire. But there might be a simpler explanation. What if this kind of spending is the easiest way to funnel donations back to himself?
The Huffington Post reports that donations to Donald Trump’s campaign are now going largely to … Donald Trump, to pay for his own companies’ office spaces, private planes, and resorts.
The biggest tell is that the Trump campaign had been renting office space at Trump Tower for $35,458 per month through last spring, when he was still self-financing. But once he sewed up the nomination and began reeling in donations in a joint fundraising agreement with the RNC, that rent jumped: $72,800 in May, $110,685 in June, and $169,758 in July.
In addition, the campaign has paid out over $260,000 to Trump’s golf courses (he has used those resorts as campaign venues) and to his restaurants. And in July alone, $495,000 was spent for his personal Boeing 757, with “air travel one of the biggest expense categories for his campaign.”