President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign and joint party committees have directed nearly a half-million dollars to several Trump-owned properties during the first three months of 2017, with most going toward rent at Manhattan's Trump Tower, disclosures filed Friday with the Federal Election Commission show.
More than six percent of the $6.3 million spent by the campaign went to the Trump properties, reports The Wall Street Journal, paying $274,013 for rent at Trump Tower; $58,685 for lodging at the Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Florida and another $13,828 for rent and catering going to the Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas.
Late last year FEC reports showed that Trump's campaign and the Republican National Committee had directed more than $14 million toward reimbursing his children for their travel expenses and toward family-owned companies, with four companies receiving more pay than Trump's family and entities.
The Trump campaign brought in more than $3 million during the first quarter after his inauguration, mainly through donations of $200 or less. In comparison, President Barack Obama brought in about $1 million in his first quarter in office.
According to the new FEC disclosures, the campaign's spending habits remained virtually the same after he won the White House, including directing $1.2 million for gear such as hats and t-shirts. Emails from the Trump campaign often promote merchandise, such as for the "Make America Great Again" ball cap, being sold in a "spring edition" of light blue.
The campaign also spent $1.5 million toward a web-marketing firm owned by Brad Parscale, his campaign digital director, in exchange for online ads and digital consulting. Over the course of the election, Parscale's firm received $73 million and was the campaign's top-paid vendor.
The campaign's leadership also received higher-than-usual salaries, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Michael Glassner, who has already been tapped to run Trump's re-election campaign in 2020, earned $70,000 for the first quarter of 2017; Sean Dollman, operations director, got $55,000, and Vice President Mike Pence's nephew, John Pence, who is deputy executive director, netted $40,000.
In comparison, the Obama campaign's chief financial officer, Marianne Markowitz, earned $25,323 in the corresponding first quarter in 2009.
The report also showed that a company owned by White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon received $28,150 in January for performing administrative and secretarial services. According to Bannon's own financial disclosure statement, he drew almost a half-million dollars in income from the company, which is valued at between $5 million and $25 million.
Several other companies affiliated with staff members also drew income from the campaign, including Scavino & Associates, a firm founded by White House social-media director Dan Scavino, which netted $14.500. In addition, White House Director of Scheduling Caroline Wiles received $10,500 for field consulting.
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