Republicans — candidates, members of Donald Trump-supporting super PACS and the Republican National Committee — have spent a total of at least $4.7 million dollars at Trump’s properties since he became president, according to the latest federal financial filings.
The properties include Trump International Hotel in Washington, golf resorts, other hotels and restaurants. Much of expenditures came from donations to Trump’s own election and re-election campaigns.
Presidents typically divest from their businesses — or transfer them into blind trusts — when they move into the White House. Trump has done neither and continues to profit from the upsurge in political business at his properties.
Trump boasted in a 2000 interview with Fortune magazine: “It’s very possible that I could be the first presidential candidate to run and make money on it.”
The take for the first quarter of this year was almost $100,000 at the Trump International Hotel alone, reported Quartz, which was the first to analyze the latest figures.
The biggest political expenditures on Trump properties in recent years was leading into the presidential election before Trump became president. From 2015 to 2016, Trump properties took in $13.5 million, according to data analyzed by the Center for Responsive Politics.
Public Citizen, a Washington-based nonprofit, analyzed all the available records of political and federal taxpayer spending at Trump businesses. The group’s report —“The Art of the (Self) Deal: Political and Taxpayer Spending at Trump’s Properties” — concluded that from 2015 to April 2018 at least $15 million was spent on Trump properties by his campaign, PACs and federal agencies, including expenditures on planes owned by a Trump company and on Trump-branded bottled water.
Other spending on Trump properties is often hidden within expenses that cover Trump as he goes about his business. Taxpayers, for example, foot the bill every time Trump and a White House entourage travel to his golf resort in Mar-a-Lago in West Palm Beach. The General Accounting Office estimated in a report early this year that four trips to Mar-a-Lago over a month in 2017 cost the government a total of $13.6 million — $3.4 million each. Costs on things like food and lodging for Trump, his family and his staff profit the operation.
Trump also used public funds when he visited one of his golf resorts in Scotland with a White House crew last year after meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May. The British had to foot the security bill for the trip which was expected to be $6.6 million. Trump often uses such opportunities to tout his businesses in a kind of taxpayer-funded ad.