President Donald Trump’s U.S. businesses have raked in $15.1 million in revenue from political groups and federal agencies during his run for office and presidency, with about 90 percent coming from his own campaign, according to a new report from Public Citizen.
The report, “The Art of the (Self) Deal: Political and Taxpayer Spending at Trump’s Properties,” compiles all known records of political and federal taxpayer spending at the president’s properties and businesses.
In addition to the funds that came from groups and agencies, more than $717,000 came from the Republican National Committee and almost $595,000 from Trump Victory, the joint fundraising committee set up by Trump’s campaign and the RNC.
Now that Trump is president, Republican candidates have held numerous fundraisers that his properties, which were not hotbeds of political activity before Trump’s move into politics.
More than $9.2 million in political spending went to Tag Air Inc., which controls Trump’s airplane, complete with gold-plated bathroom faucets and seatbelts.
Another $2.4 million went to Trump Tower Commercial LLC, and hundreds of thousands were spread out to the president’s various hotels and other corporations.
While existing public records of federal agencies spending money at Trump properties are incomplete, several agencies have detailed some spending.
For example, the U.S. Department of Defense alone spent nearly $140,000 at Trump businesses according to records obtained through a public records request by Property of the People, an open government group.
“Donald Trump has degraded the presidency in countless ways,” said Alan Zibel, research director at Public Citizen’s Corporate Presidency Project and author of the report. “One of the most shocking is his shameless self-dealing, as exemplified by the continued spending of campaign money and taxpayer dollars to Trump’s own businesses, which he refused to fully divest. Before Trump, this pattern of personal of self-enrichment was a characteristic of Third World autocrats rather than the president of the United States.”
The report comes as U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., is expected to introduce legislation that would prohibit the spending of federal funds on properties owned by an officeholder, including the president, if those public funds provide a profit to the officeholder.
“Trump has raised the art of the self-deal to unprecedented heights, enriching himself at the expense of taxpayers,” said Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist for Public Citizen. “This requires a legislative response.”