Repub­li­can po­lit­i­cal cam­paigns

Orlando Sentinel - - FRONT PAGE - By Shahien Nasiripour

in­crease their spend­ing at Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s busi­nesses by nearly 15 per­cent this year, ac­cord­ing to fed­eral fig­ures com­piled by the watch­dog group Pub­lic Cit­i­zen.

NEW YORK — Repub­li­can po­lit­i­cal cam­paigns in­creased their spend­ing at Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s busi­nesses by nearly 15 per­cent this year, ac­cord­ing to fed­eral fig­ures com­piled by the watch­dog group Pub­lic Cit­i­zen.

The Repub­li­can Na­tional Com­mit­tee and var­i­ous GOP po­lit­i­cal ac­tion com­mit­tees spent close to $388,000 dis­closed in the three-month pe­riod end­ing in March at Trump prop­er­ties in South Florida, Man­hat­tan, Chicago and around Wash­ing­ton, D.C., Fed­eral Elec­tion Com­mis­sion fil­ings show. That com­pares to about $339,000 dur­ing the same pe­riod last year, a 14.5 per­cent jump.

The spend­ing is part of more than $15 mil­lion that has flowed to the Trump Or­ga­ni­za­tion and con­nected en­ti­ties since 2015 from po­lit­i­cal donors and the fed­eral govern­ment, ac­cord­ing to Pub­lic Cit­i­zen.

Some of the money has been used to pur­chase food and bev­er­ages from Trump’s win­ery, flights aboard Trump’s air­planes and lodg­ing in Trump’s ho­tels. The fig­ures rep­re­sent rev­enue, not net in­come. “It’s very pos­si­ble that I could be the first pres­i­den­tial can­di­date to run and make money on it,” Trump told For­tune in 2000.

Amanda Miller, a spokes­woman for the Trump Or­ga­ni­za­tion, didn’t im­me­di­ately re­spond to re­quests for com­ment.

Trump handed con­trol of his busi­nesses to his long­time lieu­tenants, in­clud­ing his sons, but he still owns them. Ethics ex­perts have called on Trump to ei­ther sell off his hold­ings or place them in a blind trust to avoid the pos­si­bil­ity that his ad­min­is­tra­tion could be help­ing his busi­ness in­ter­ests turn a profit.

About 90 per­cent of the money that has come in since 2015 was spent by Trump’s po­lit­i­cal cam­paign com­mit­tees, ac­cord­ing to Pub­lic Cit­i­zen’s fig­ures.

ALEX BRAN­DON/AP 2016

GOP cam­paigns and PACs spent close to $388,000 at the pres­i­dent’s prop­er­ties in the first three months of 2018.

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