Since leaving the White House, documents have surfaced that point to Donald Trump grifting money from American taxpayers for his personal benefit.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW) analyzed the latest set of documents and discovered the Secret Service spent close to $2 million at Trump properties.
CREW pointed out that if Trump simply made visits to his properties nearly 550 times, that “would be bad enough.” However, Trump did stop there, he “used the trips to line his pockets with taxpayer money via his Secret Service protection:.
What more, another second CREW report details another twist to the story, which is especially concerning given what has just taken place with the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.
The report points out, when Trump met victims and first responders after the October 1, 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas, it appears he was attempting to get paid for his appearance by way of making sure he and his entourage stayed at the Trump Hotel Las Vegas, which cost taxpayers nearly $50,000.
It’s also interesting to point out that in February 2020, Trump made visits to four or so states out west, but then returned every night to sleep at Trump Hotel Las Vegas. This move added an estimated $1.1 million in Air Force One expenses.
Mike Pence wasn’t far behind. A few days after Trump’s 2017 visit to Las Vegas, Pence flew there to attend a memorial service for the shooting victims. He also lodged at the Trump Hotel Las Vegas, running up a bill totaling $15,892 at the Trump property.
This is hardly the first time Trump has found himself in the middle of money scam accusations.
Despite having no presence in New York, Donald Trump’s political action committee paid $375,000 to rent office space in Trump Tower, according to HuffPost.
“It’s a huge scam,” said one former aide. “I can’t believe his base lets him get away with it.”
According to a HuffPost review of campaign finance reports, Trump’s Make America Great Again PAC spent $37,541.67 each month for ten months in 2021 renting space in the Trump Organization skyscraper in Manhattan.
“The ex-aide’s assertion was confirmed by a Trump Tower employee who screens traffic to offices above the floors that are open to visitors,” HuffPost reported. “When asked for permission to visit Trump’s political office recently, the employee told HuffPost that Save America and its related entities did not have offices there. ‘It’s all being run out of Florida,’ he said, declining to give his name.”
Trump’s campaign rented vacant space in Trump Tower as well.
“That was the same monthly amount his campaign had spent there from mid-2017 through the end of 2020, when his reelection campaign was actually based in northern Virginia, across the Potomac River from Washington,” HuffPost reported. “In all those months, there was at most one person who periodically visited the 7,000-square-foot office in Trump Tower, the former aide said. But Trump insisted on having the campaign continue renting there ― as it had during the 2016 election ― because the building was having trouble finding tenants, he said.”
After donors started covering the tab in 2016, Trump reportedly boosted the rent his campaign was paying at Trump Tower by five times.
“The $375,417 Trump spent for the unused office space is more than the $350,500 that his Save America committee donated last year to Republican candidates running for office, which is ostensibly Trump’s purpose for raising money for his committees,” The HuffPost noted.
From mid-2017 until the end of 2020, while his reelection campaign was really centered in northern Virginia, across the Potomac River from Washington, that was the same monthly amount his campaign spent there.
According to the former staffer, only one individual visited the 7,000-square-foot office at Trump Tower on a regular basis during those months. However, because the building was having problems finding renters, Trump insisted on the campaign continuing to rent there, as it had done throughout the 2016 election. “They realized they couldn’t afford to lose so much money because the building was in such horrible shape.”
The Trump presidential campaign committee was renamed the Make America Great Again PAC after the 2020 election, and the property was leased again. It is currently just used to store campaign souvenirs, according to the former assistant. He stated, “No one works at that office,” he said. “It sits there locked up.”
America must be saved and made great again. The PAC and the joint fundraising committee that collects funds for them both use the same post office box in Arlington, Virginia as their official addresses. Both entities’ employees are listed at the same address.
Although Trump is still using his position to route money from donors to himself, according to Noah Bookbinder, president of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, it does not appear to be unlawful. “There’s no law that says you can’t use this as a scam to enrich yourself. He’s allowed to do this. It’s sleazy, but it’s legal.”
Trump paid $375,417 for the vacant office space, which is more than the $350,500 his Save America committee provided to Republican candidates running for office last year, which is ostensibly Trump’s objective for generating money for his committees.
Following his election loss in November 2020, Trump used similar tactics when he established the Save America “leadership” PAC, claiming in emails and text messages to tens of millions of his supporters that the money would be used to help Republicans win key U.S. Senate runoffs in Georgia to keep control of that chamber. Despite raising $76 million in the weeks leading up to the runoff on Jan. 5, 2021, Trump spent none of it on the GOP contenders. Instead, he almost definitely caused both Republicans to lose by questioning the legitimacy of Georgia’s elections after the state voted for Democrat Joe Biden for president, lowering Republican turnout.
The amount of money Trump’s properties have taken in from GOP candidates and groups staging events at and otherwise visiting his different properties dwarfs Trump’s total gifts to candidates. Just from federal candidates and committees, Trump’s tennis and croquet social club in Palm Beach, Florida, where he lives and has a taxpayer-supported post-presidential office, earned $427,196 in payments last year.
A total of $153,243 was earned by his hotels and golf courses in Florida, New Jersey, New York, and Washington, D.C.
Trump’s Save America committee finished 2021 with $105 million, which, unlike a campaign committee with strict spending limits, may be used for nearly anything, including paying personal costs or even giving himself a large income.
“It’s all a slush fund,” the former aide said.