Donald Trump has mastered The Art of Self-Dealing.
It’s a simple two step process: collect money from donors via PACs and campaign committees, then spend that money at Trump-owned properties.
According to a new report in Forbes, “the former president shifted $203,000 from his political donors to his private businesses after leaving the White House.” And that’s just from one fundraising entity, the Make America Great Again PAC. Forbes found that another Trump PAC, Save America, spent $79,000 at Trump’s businesses.
The bulks of the charges were related to rent for office space – $38,000 a month to Trump Tower in New York City. Another $3,000 is paid monthly to a kiosk in the building’s lobby. It’s unclear if Trump is still using the skyscraper for political activities; his 2020 campaign was headquartered in Washington, DC and his resorts in Florida and New Jersey have become the centers of the MAGA world.
Other expenditures included tens of thousands of dollars in meals and lodgings at an entity called the Trump Hotel Collection.
Forbes contextualizes the self-dealing, explaining “None of this cash should mean much to the former president, whose businesses will likely generate well over $450 million in revenue this year.”
The unusual use of PAC money extends beyond free-spending at Trump-owned properties. Trump’s political action committees shelled out a combined $7.9 million on legal fees related to his second impeachment trial and his attempt to overthrow the 2020 election.
More from the CNBC on the legal expenses:
The payments started in early January after multiple lawsuits from Trump and his Republican allies were tossed out in key states such as Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Arizona and Michigan. The checks continued to go to legal firms through Trump’s impeachment trial, where he was impeached for a second time by the House and exonerated by the Senate. Some payments to legal advisors were as recent as June.
Asked about the legal costs, Jason Miller, a spokesman for Trump, pointed to the impeachment fight. The House, largely along party lines impeached Trump for inciting the deadly Jan. 6 riot on Capitol Hill. The Senate acquitted him, but some Republicans joined Democrats in voting to convict.
“It’s a shame that national Democrats, obsessed with trying to prevent President Trump from running and winning again in 2024, pursued another failed impeachment effort earlier this year. While this partisan charade was soundly defeated, and President Trump was completely exonerated, these things cost money,” Miller said in an email Monday.
According to filings, Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s outspoken personal attorney, did not receive any compensation for his work to toss out the 2020 presidential result, although his expenses were reimbursed.
Trump’s PACs have over $100 million in the bank, after raising $82 million during the first half of 2021. Trump has spent none of that money on the Arizona audit.