20 Percent of Trump Campaign Spending Is Going to ... Donald Trump
Donald Trump repeatedly touts his campaign’s “tremendous cash flow” and net worth “in excess of $10 billion,” but the latest Federal Election Commission filings for the presumptive Republican nominee paints a vastly different picture than the one frequently espoused by campaign operatives. In essence, Trump’s campaign is broke.
The FEC report released Monday night showed an enormous fundraising gap between Trump and likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. In May, Clinton raised $27 million compared with just $3.1 million raised by the Trump campaign. Clinton also ended last month with a monstrous $42 million cash on hand (total amount of accessible cash) compared with Trump’s measly $1.2 million.
The cash Trump keeps on hand is paltry compared to other campaigns; it even pales in comparison to some crowdfunding campaigns (Veronica Mars movie's Kickstarter included).
The breakdown of campaign expenses for the month of May is even more incredible—Trump’s campaign spent $208,000 on hats, $7,000 more than it spent on communications consulting, data management, and online advertising combined, as Kenneth P. Vogel of Politico noted.
And amazingly, as much as 20 percent of the Trump campaign’s May expenses—over $6 million—went to Trump-owned businesses or to his children. As the AP Notes:
"When Trump flies, he uses his airplane. When he campaigns, he often chooses his properties or his own Trump Tower in New York City, which serves as headquarters. His campaign even buys Trump bottled water and Trump wine."
ProPublica journalist Derek Willis filtered the FEC report, discovering the magnitude of expenses paid by the campaign to various "Trump" entities.
Recipients of payments from Trump campaign with “Trump” in name, through May 31. Doesn’t include Mar-a-Lago/planes. https://t.co/JF6skaWYGF— Derek Willis (@Derek Willis) 1466476369.0
Trump downplayed concerns over the FEC report in a statement released Tuesday, insisting, “If need be, there could be unlimited ‘cash on hand’ as I would put up my own money, as I have already done through the primaries, spending over $50 million dollars.”
Inbox: Trump Campaign Statement on FEC Filing for May 2016 https://t.co/SvjnU1xu2l— Zeke Miller (@Zeke Miller) 1466521642.0
Throughout the primaries, Trump has purported to be self-funding his campaign, though, according to the FEC, in actuality he loaned his campaign $46 million—meaning the Trump campaign could pay back the self-described billionaire after the general election in November (that is, unless Trump continues alienating already skeptical donors who fear the candidate’s bloviating will cost Republicans the White House). But even if the campaign is unable to pay back the money Trump lent to his own presidential bid, the candidate is finding creative ways to stuff his pockets with Trump for America funds, as this incredible dispatch from MSNBC's Kasie Hunt reveals:
Donald Trump says he is actually making money on his campaign because he's paying himself to fly his plane— Kasie Hunt (@Kasie Hunt) 1452981751.0
Despite all of the financial insecurity revealed in these FEC findings, it appears as if the Trump campaign spending habits are making headway in bringing the candidate’s 2000 prediction to fruition: while he may not win the election, it’s “very possible” he could “be the first presidential candidate to run and make money on it."
Alternatively—and increasingly more likely—Trump's presidential campaign could be just another failed business venture (RIP Trump Steaks) for America's Greatest "Billionaire."