WASHINGTON — During President Trump’s first year in office, he and other Republicans spent nearly $1.1 million of donors’ money with Trump-aligned businesses, a USA TODAY analysis of recently filed campaign-finance reports shows.
Trump, who began raising funds for his re-election on the day he was sworn in, led the way. His campaign spent more than $688,000 at Trump properties. The largest amount: more than $476,000 to Trump Tower in New York for rent expenses. The president’s 2020 campaign headquarters are housed at his midtown Manhattan skyscraper.
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Trump’s Washington hotel, which opened during the height of the 2016 campaign, took in $351,000 last year with more than 60% of that coming from the Republican National Committee to host events at the property not far from the White House.
The politician not named Trump who spent the most at Trump properties in 2017: Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., whose campaign committee spent nearly $29,000 at the Trump hotel in Washington to host events. Shuster, the chairman of the House Transportation Committee, announced last month that he’s retiring at year’s end.
When he took office, Trump formally resigned his positions with hundreds of companies in his far-flung real estate and branding empire and handed over management to his adult sons and a veteran Trump Organization executive. But he broke with presidential tradition by refusing to relinquish ownership of his companies. As a result, spending at Trump properties still can benefit the president’s bottom line.
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The analysis examined properties owned by Trump and those with which his company has financial arrangements, such as Trump Soho, the downtown New York hotel-condo that Trump's company managed until the end of 2017. (Its owner, CIM Group, recently renamed the property The Dominick.)
The 2017 political spending at Trump’s businesses is just a fraction of the more than $10 million Trump’s campaign pumped into his businesses in 2016 as he campaigned for the presidency and relied on his properties for campaign space and his own airline for travel.
But the spending will only grow this year. Just last week, Trump addressed a crowd of Republican National Committee members over dinner in Washington. The venue: The Trump International Hotel.