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Trump campaign short of money, $6 million went to his companies, family

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, left, shouts to Secret Service agents that supporter Diana Brest, right, had been waiting in line since 2 a.m. to see the candidate speak at a rally Saturday in Phoenix.

WASHINGTON >> Donald Trump is one of the wealthiest people to ever run for president, but his campaign appears to be flat broke. What’s more, fundraising reports show he’s used about $6 million in campaign money to pay his own companies and family members.

The billionaire businessman’s financial woes were enough to inspire the mocking Twitter hashtag “TrumpSoPoor” on Tuesday and, far more seriously, give already reluctant donors a fresh batch of reasons to withhold their money.

Trump’s campaign expenses are hardly inspiring confidence among people whose money he’s pursuing. The spending includes a $423,000 May payment to Mar-a-Lago, the private club in Florida that serves as his vacation home, and enough Trump-branded bottled water to fill a bathtub.

Democratic rival Hillary Clinton ribbed Trump on Tuesday, tweeting to followers: “What is Trump spending his meager campaign resources on? Why, himself, of course.”

A presidential campaign is expensive — about $1 billion in recent years. That money pays for crucial candidate outreach, including costly television advertising and identifying, persuading and getting voters to the polls in November.

Trump began this month with $1.3 million in the bank, less campaign cash than many congressional candidates and even behind several of the Republican presidential candidates he defeated. The $3 million he collected in May donations is about one-tenth what Clinton raised.

Trump waves off criticism of his fundraising, saying he only began in earnest May 25 despite having become the presumptive nominee weeks earlier. He largely financed his successful primary bid through personal loans but now is leaning heavily on the Republican National Committee for help.

“To date, the campaign’s fundraising has been incredible, and we continue to see a tremendous outpouring of support for Mr. Trump and money to the Republican Party,” his campaign said in a statement Tuesday.

Both Trump and the party say he can write checks if donations don’t pick up. But there are signs he is taking fundraising more seriously.

He made his first emailed pitch for donations on Tuesday, writing that he would match up to $2 million in contributions. “This is the first fundraising email I have ever sent on behalf of my campaign,” Trump wrote. “That’s right. THE FIRST ONE.”

That more-engaged approach can’t come too soon for Republican financiers.

“There’s a lot of reluctance,” said Spencer Zwick, who was Mitt Romney’s chief fundraiser four years ago. “Some are saying the finance organization is highly disorganized.”

Trump’s defenders, including New York donor Anthony Scaramucci, say a major part of his appeal is that he’s a “non-politician” who does things differently.

That extends to his propensity to mix business with politics.

Finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission detail a campaign unafraid to co-mingle political and business endeavors in an unprecedented way.

Wealthy political candidates in the past, including New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and presidential contender Steve Forbes both walled off their campaigns from the companies bearing their names.

Not so for Trump. Through the end of May, his campaign had plowed about $6 million back into Trump corporate products and services, a review of federal filings shows. That’s nearly 10 percent of his expenditures.

There’s nothing illegal about it. Regulations do require companies— even ones owned by the candidate— to charge fair-market value so as not to run afoul of a ban on corporate campaign contributions.

They also require some complicated record-keeping.

For instance, FEC reports show the campaign making about $400,000 in payments to Trump. But that’s a campaign finance accounting quirk. What’s actually happened is that Trump donated $400,000 in campaign office space and some salaries of company employees who have been working on his presidential bid.

Yet Trump’s companies also charge his campaign for goods and services, putting him at risk of appearing to be a self-dealer. That’s why Forbes and Bloomberg avoided the issue altogether, former aides said.

“You just never want to have to worry about any blurred lines with personal, corporate, in-kind and contributor money,” said Bill Dal Col, who ran Forbes’ unsuccessful 1996 and 2000 White House campaigns.

One more complication: The $46 million worth of loans Trump made to his campaign can be repaid with donor money, even though he insists he won’t do that.

The situation has some donors spooked, said Charlie Spies, a Republican elections attorney who has worked with major contributors and was helping Trump opponent Jeb Bush.

“Why would donors give money when the first dollars go to help a billionaire buy products from his own company?” Spies asked.

The biggest payment to a Trump company is $4.6 million to TAG Air, the holding company of his airplanes.

His campaign headquarters is at Trump Tower in New York. The campaign has paid about $520,000 in rent and utilities to Trump Tower Commercial LLC and to Trump Corporation.

For events, he often uses his own properties. The campaign paid out $26,000 in January to rent a facility at Trump National Doral, his golf course in Miami. He’d held an event in the gold-accented ballroom there in late October. The campaign spent another $11,000 on Trump’s hotel in Chicago.

Even refreshments have a Trump tie.

About $5,000 from the campaign went to Eric Trump Wine Manufacturing LLC, which offers Virginia wines bearing the bold letters of Trump.

Son Eric Trump also factors into another large Trump campaign expense.

The campaign has paid about $4.7 million for hats and T-shirts purchased from Ace Specialties. That company is owned by a board member of Eric Trump’s charitable foundation.

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    • “There’s nothing illegal about it. Regulations do require companies— even ones owned by the candidate— to charge fair-market value so as not to run afoul of a ban on corporate campaign contributions.”

      you should have read the article first, you would have seen the answer.

      • There are greater issues at hand: one of comportment and the optics it sends; two, how can anyone take this person seriously within the R party. To have raised so little, for the highest position in the world, and also be in arrears, well it spokes volumes about the seriousness, or lacktherof, if this pillock candidate.

        It’s laughable and a gross miscalculation of the will and patience of the American people, especially R voters.

        • His inability to organize is pathetic and should give pause to any rational Trump supporter. Can’t get his campaign together but figures he will run the greatest nation on Earth??!

        • He’s a rookie. So you’d rather vote for incumbant politicians who don’t do what you elected them to do?

      • I see nothin wrong with probably paying people even family members that work his campaign or paying back some money to his business(es) where he borrowed money for his run for the GOP nomination or now as the presumptive nominee. Politicians do that themselves, Crooked Hillary is grabbing at straws as she falls into the pit of getting into trouble with her accepting money from Countries that treats women like 2nd class citizens, the email scandal, etc.. How can anyone vote for Crooked Hillary? Honestly! ask yourself would you marry that women?

        • Instead of a Slavic escort?? Hmmmn, one went to boola law (yale law school) and spent a lifetime helping others–the other is a mindless, uneducated, and has spent the bulk of her life, on her back, letting arguably the most douche and gross looking man in the world, do who knows what to her…..

          Easy choice–thanks for simplifying for me!

      • The DNC conspiracy with the press to get the most unqualified person nominated on the Republican side to run against HRC is working perfectly. Too bad history will tell the truth, that the first women president was elected because via fraud.

    • How come this paper doesn’t go over Clinton’s campaign spending. How come no headline about who and where funding of her Clinton fund comes from. The StarAdvertiser is a newspaper and I want to be informed in an unbiased way. I want to be an informed voter. Please give two sides equal time so I can decide.

        • You saying StarAdvertiser has no agenda? If you cannot see that then you need to stop using this rag as your primary source of information. Take the blinders off and explore. There’s a great big world out there with opposing views that begs to be heard.

    • Let’s us put it this way: We are slaves to the media. The Drudge Report which does media research shows that the major media players spend FOUR times more time and space covering Trump’s scandals than Hillary’s. I am now watching Trump lambast the Clinton Foundation on how they profited from Hillary’s Secretary of State fiasco. That’s the type of attack Romney should have done on Obama–but he was “a nice guy” and we all know nice guys finish last.

      • media players spend FOUR times more time and space covering Trump’s scandals than Hillary’s

        Which is how the carnival pitch man Don Trump has caged billions of dollars of free publicity out of the so called “news” media which he righteously loathes.

        Much to his delight the “news” media, whose ratings/profits soar with each new story about Trump, utterly despise him but find themselves locked in a mutual embrace ~~ they need each other.

        No show in Vegas compares with this epic spectacle.

        Get some, Donald, get some.

        You da man.

    • “FEC reports show the campaign making about $400,000 in payments to Trump. .. What’s actually happened is that Trump donated $400,000 in campaign office space and some salaries of company employees who have been working on his presidential bid.”

      etc.

  • Jennifer Rubin, the Washington Post’s far, far right columnist, wrote, “One…is left with an unpleasant reality: A plurality of GOP voters wanted Trump. They did not care or may have actively embraced his lunacy, bigotry and ignorance. His rotten character and abject honesty elicited shrugs. They wore his “pants on fire” fact checks like badges of honor. A significant segment of the GOP primary electorate itself lacked common sense, standards of decency, and intolerance of bigotry and cruelty. No group was worse than the evangelical “leaders” who cheered him along the way. A Republican wag joked that the GOP needs not only a new candidate but also a new base. There is something to that.”

  • This doesn’t really say anything new about Mr. Trump. Everyone knows, or should know, that he’s a small time fraud. The bigger issue here is that Mr. Trump is now begging for money from his supporters (so much for the lie of him self-funding his own campaign) only to divert the money to himself and his family. A billionaire? Obviously not. Billionaires do not nickel and dime poor people to send them money, only to then essentially steal it.

    His supporters – a lot of them on this comment board – still (remarkably) don’t realize that this is just another fraud. His campaign is being operated as a profit making business, and his family members are on its payroll. Commenters here – some already defending this indefensible behavior – don’t seem to know any better, and have been defrauded by him since the beginning of his campaign.

    The best news here is that smart people with lots of money will now definitely not give any to Mr. Trump. He’s done.

    • I could care less what hate you spew against a person that has done nothing to you.That is not the Christian way.
      I just made my donation to Trump for $100. For the next 48 hours he’ll match it up to 2 million. 14 million people voted for Trump. If his supporters did what I did he’ll raise 700 million. It’s time to help our man in need.
      Hillary on the other hand owes lobbyists, Wall Street, big banks, the middle eastern countries, Allah and who knows who else that like you falls for her brain diseased TelePrompTer speeches.

      • You’re the victim of the biggest scam in Amercan political history. Didn’t you read the article? He is using his political donations to benefit his family and businesses. Shsssh!!!

        • If I was down to my last sawbuck I’d give it to Trump. If he loses he has absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. Nobody did what he’s done.
          You want to put Clinton in the WH vote your conscience. In the meantime respect other people’s opinion. After all, the Islams haven’t taken over yet.

      • lespark, it seems your math skills are on par with your logic. “I just made my donation to Trump for $100. For the next 48 hours he’ll match it up to 2 million. 14 million people voted for Trump. If his supporters did what I did he’ll raise 700 million”
        His matching “donation” (really, to his OWN campaign?) cap is $2M TOTAL, which means a absolute total of $4M. Even if 14 million people gave $100, that’s still only $140M. Where in the heck do you come up with “700 million?”
        I can see why some people are enamored with Trump; details don’t matter to them.

        • Math is not the strong suit of Trump supporters. His support base collectively has the mental capacity of a toaster oven.

        • Sorry, what I meant to say is 1/2 of the 14,000,000 voters gave a hundred that would be
          $. 700,000,000.

        • Kaupani, Trump is going to get rid of common core. By the way, you could use a refresher yourself.

      • For the under-educated here, if 14 million voters each sent in $100, that’d multiply to $1.4 billion, plus the $.002 billion ($2 million) Trump says he’ll match (unless he changes his mind).

        lespark, if you have any smart friends, please ask them to set you straight.

        • But remember, if Trump ever tells you he has $1.402 billion in his campaign fund, it means he has $1.4 million and a bad haircut.

      • Even billionaire Mark Cuban questions Trump’s true worth. Klastri has a point; a true billionaire would have sufficient liquid assets to readily fund his own campaign without begging for money and for the campaign money he receives why is he paying off himself and his family. Trump sounds like what Albert Hee did except on a larger scale . If Trump is worth way over $1,000,000,000 why does he need your $100?

        • Trump actually said that he’s worth $10 billion. He’s asking for $5 donations, and now he won’t release his tax returns after criticizing other candidates (like Mitt Romney) for not releasing their returns.

          He’s lying, obviously. He can’t afford to finance his own campaign and also lied about that. He’s a two bit, racist fraud.

  • They are all in mourning. Payback is the pits. Judas goat leading his lambs to the slaughter. Don’t know how some people can be so blind to the obvious.

    • Sarge is busy. We need Trump in the WH to straighten out the Country’s finances. For all you experts, what he is doing is GAAP. If you don’t know what that is look it up.
      Why does Trump pay little or no taxes? The same reason he’s going to balance the budget. He knows economics.
      And that’s just for starters. A lot of DOJ employees are out there waving signs and holding their you know what. Hillary loses and people are going to prison.
      There’s a lot on the line.

      • Here are the economics he knows. Trump once ran a publicly traded company (the only time), and this is how Forbes described what happened, “From mid-1995 to early 2009, Trump served as chairman of Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts (renamed Trump Entertainment Resorts in 2004), and held the CEO title for five years (mid-2000 to mid-2005). During Trump’s 13 years as chairman, the casino empire lost a total of $1.1 billion, twice declared bankruptcy, and wrote down or restructured $1.8 billion in debt. Over the same period, the company paid Trump—essentially Trump paying himself—roughly $82 million by Fortune’s estimates, collected from a dizzying variety of sources spelled out in the company’s proxy filings, as varied as payments for use of Trump’s private plane to fees paid directly Trump for access to his name and marketing expertise.”

      • Hardly. A business person is not a global economist, and there is world of difference to understand both the thematic underpinnings and the granular quantitative aspects of the field.

        A new analysis concludes Donald Trump’s economic proposals, taken at face value, could produce a prolonged recession and heavy job losses that would fall hardest on low- and middle-income workers.

        The Moody’s Analytics report, which a person close to the Trump campaign strongly disputed, is the first that attempts to quantify the cumulative economic benefits and costs of Mr. Trump’s proposals on taxes, trade, immigration and spending. It determines that full adoption of those policies would sharply reduce economic output during his first term and reduce employment by 3.5 million jobs.

        Under almost any scenario, the report says, “the U.S. economy will be more isolated and diminished.”

        The report’s lead author, economist Mark Zandi, served as an occasional adviser to the 2008 presidential campaign of Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) and later provided analysis to support the Obama administration’s stimulus and mortgage-restructuring proposals. Mr. Zandi, a Democrat, has donated to the campaign of presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

        Three other Moody’s economists also worked on the analysis. Now, give me an intelligent response/ retort…..chirp, chirp, silence…..

        • Oh the great YALIE perfesser has deposited another lump of congealed wisdom before us lowly swine.

          As Hannibal Lector might put it, “DOOOO thrall us with your acumen, perfesser.”

          You are so like a young Duke among fishmongers.

          Lucky us.

        • Thos–the roofie armed, defender of violent sexual offenders, and a person you do NOT want babysitting your youngsters and daughters had spoken.

          It’s telling, I provide a rather clearly worded analytical report from Moody’s, and he retorts, with an unrelated, non-sensical pithy platitude. So very telling…

          Oh, well back to you trying to ply your neighbors daughter with alcohol and subsequently defending it….

        • Hillary Clinton–the roofie armed defender of a violent sexual offender and a person you do NOT want to be your next President. Mr Trump will soon be educating the American people on the life and times of lying crooked Hillary. Let the games begin. BENGHAZI

      • We don’t really know how much taxes the Donald pays, because he won’t show the voters his tax records. What would you do, lespark, if you learned that he is worth a lot less than $10 billion? Because some accounting experts estimated Trump’s probable wealth to be under $200 million.

        Why does Trump love the undereducated? Why does Trump love lespark?

      • Trump and his collective legal representatives know how to tie up our country’s Judicial system; he’s had years and years of practice and has pretty much perfected how to legally bury financial issues including what we’ll see with raping a 13 year old girl by tying her down to the bed. Latest issues used by his lawyers is by using the, “Statue of Limitations.”
        Well, I hope that the courts will allow the victim her day in court, because she says that she and her family were subjected to threats from Trump of death if they spoke out. Hopefully there is validation to these charges.

        • Trump will soon bring up all the rape victims of Hillary’s husband. The Donald is just warming up. The Clinton Foundation will be easy prey. Lying Crooked Hillary is cooked.

  • Quite frankly, this is another smear to sell papers. No body buys papers anymore, hello.
    That’s the trouble with Obama. He spends trillions and he doesn’t know where it went.

    • Lespark wake up your having a bad dream. Your a lot like your dream candidate the more you talk the more l know that Trump is in serious trouble.

      • Presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump announced on Tuesday the launch of a new website targeting presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

        The website, lyingcrookedhillary.com, will “showcase some of Clinton’s most disastrous lies to the American people,” according to a release from the Trump campaign.

        • Good luck with that.

          He’s going to lose in the biggest electoral landslide in history. It can’t happen soon enough.

        • Sarge, I am watching that right now—great attack on their Foundation and the obscene amount of money—millions from nations that profited from her trade deals. Now, the media, just like they did with Obama, treat her with kid gloves. Anyone remember when the media attacked Obama for his politics and Jimmie Carter yelled RACIST????? Had nothing to do with race–it’s politics!!! But, the media closed ranks and never again blasted him–look at the scandals in the WH and his cabinet?? They could write a book!!!

  • I recall Trump stating that he was wort $10 billion and would self-finance his run for the presidency. So what’s this about raising campaign donations???

  • Hate is the new American reality. Tolerance is a sub category of Hate. Something to hate is accepted as the norm. Propaganda rules. It’s a replay of the run up to WW1 and WW@ with its aftermath, the rule of Hate through politicization of the masses using propaganda to promote Hate. Trump is out of synch with Fabianism and Marxist economics updated to the times. I wonder if the CIA will trend with the hated against the chosen one?

  • SA, please fact check this paragraph:
    “He made his first emailed pitch for donations on Tuesday, writing that he would match up to $2 million in contributions. “This is the first fundraising email I have ever sent on behalf of my campaign,” Trump wrote. “That’s right. THE FIRST ONE.”
    Not remotely correct. It’s not even the first email fundraising pitch this week. There was one this weekend, one last week, one June 3rd, signed Donald J Trump, with his picture.

    Two questions. 1- Conservatives, can you not see that you are being straight up hustled?
    2- SA, can you please make sure that statements of fact are true?

  • Hey guys, a bit of good news. Thanks to Trump supporters he raised $3,000,000 on Tuesday. That with the $ 2,000,000 Trump matched he raised $5,000,000. I am counting on the twins to jump to Trump.

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