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Trump's raking in millions from his re-election campaign slush fund

Trump’s re-election campaign means even small donors have a chance to line his pockets, or contribute to his steep legal fees — intentionally or not.

By Eric Boehlert - April 16, 2018
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President Donald Trump smiles during a meeting with governors and lawmakers in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Thursday, April 12, 2018, in Washington.

Is this a presidency or a financial fraud scheme? With Trump’s re-election campaign, it’s getting harder to tell.

Two new revelations about Trump’s 2016 election campaign and his 2020 re-election effort, which Trump launched right after he took office, confirm that the self-dealing has been endless.

“President Donald Trump’s U.S. businesses have received at least $15.1 million in revenue from political groups and federal agencies since 2015,” McClatchy reported on Monday. “But it was Trump’s campaign itself that spent the biggest chunk by far — about 90 percent, or $13.4 million.”

Trump’s hotels and resorts, as well as his office buildings, have been among the biggest beneficiaries as Republicans, and now government agencies, rush to line Trump’s pockets.

But didn’t political groups always spend lavishly at Trump properties? They did not. “By comparison, in 2013 and 2014, political spending at his properties was less than $20,000,” McClatchy reports.

So far, Trump has visited one of his properties, usually in Florida, New Jersey and Virginia, on nearly 140 days, which means the Secret Service, National Security Council, and the Defense Department, among others, are spending a ton of money to coincide with Trump’s travels.

Note that an earlier analysis of campaign spending by Trump in 2016 found that $1 out of every $10 donated to his campaign found its way into his bank account. And now the complete integration of Trump with the Republican Party may exponentially increase the size of the slush fund.

As for Trump’s 2020 re-election, instead of taking in millions in supporter donations and using the money on, you know, typical re-election activities, a large portion of the donations are being used to pay Trump’s legal fees.

In fact, more than 20 percent of the re-election committee’s expenditures during the first quarter of 2018 were used to pay Trump’s attorneys.

“The biggest share of legal payments in the first quarter of this year — about $348,000 — went to Jones Day, a law firm representing the campaign in the investigations by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III and several congressional committees into Russian interference in the 2016 election,” the Washington Post reports. To date, Trump has spent $4 million on legal fees.

A large portion of Trump’s campaign money come from small donors/ During the first quarter of 2018, 61 percent of the contributions to his campaign came from small donors who gave $200 or less.

If only there were a report to tell how many of Trump’s supporters wanted their re-election donations to go to white-shoe attorneys in Washington, D.C., desperately trying to dig Trump out of trouble.


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