A new report on the record $107 million raised for President Donald Trump’s inauguration reveals that expenses included $10,000 for makeup, $1.5 million channeled to the Trump International Hotel in Washington and $6.4 million spent on unused hotel rooms.
The makeup was provided for 20 aides ― at $500 per head. Also, $26 million went to a media company belonging to a close friend of first lady Melania Trump. One of the projects undertaken by that company, WIS Media Partners, was a documentary about the event that was eventually scrapped, according to The New York Times’ review.
Trump’s inaugural committee also gave $5 million to charity, the Times reported. Such donations are made when money raised for inaugurations is left over, a committee spokesman told the Washington Post.
The amount raised for the festivities surrounding Trump’s swearing-in ceremony on Jan. 20, 2017, far exceeded the money taken in for the first and second inaugurations of Presidents Barack Obama or George W. Bush.
In 2009, Obama’s first inauguration raised a then-record of $53 million in private donations. His second inauguration in 2013 raised $44 million.
Private donations and taxpayer money are both used to cover the event’s costs, which are notoriously expensive.
As previously reported, some of 2017 inauguration’s costs have been scrutinized as inflated, particularly billings by the Trump hotel that Ivanka Trump, the president’s eldest daughter, reportedly negotiated.
A $1.6 million “supervisory fee” that was billed by WIS Media Partners has also been criticized in comments to the Times by two former executives who helped organize inaugurations for Obama and Bush.
“I have never heard anybody getting that kind of fee associated with any inaugural, ever,” Greg Jenkins, the executive director of Bush’s second inaugural, told the paper.
Federal prosecutors, as first reported in December, have been investigating whether some donations to Trump’s inaugural committee were made illegally by foreigners in exchange for access to his administration or political influence. Foreign donations to federal campaigns, political action committees and inaugural funds are illegal under federal law.
In May, ABC News reported that special counsel Robert Mueller’s team has interviewed multiple witnesses about the inaugural donations, particularly ones made by donors with connections to Russia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.