February 10, 2021
New financial disclosures have raised myriad questions about the Trump campaign’s post-election spending following #45’s loss to President Joe Biden last November, Salon reports.
Based on campaign finance disclosures, Trump’s re-election campaign spent at least $81,000 in donor money on Trump’s businesses. In addition, the Trump joint fundraising committee—which split its donations with the Republican National Committee—spent another $331,000 in donor funds following the election, according to an analysis by Forbes.
Trump and Republicans plowed millions into his businesses during and after his time in office, Salon notes: All told, the campaign paid at least $2.8 million to the Trump Organization and the joint fundraising committee spent another $4.3 million on Trump’s businesses between January 20, 2017 and December 31, 2020.
Specifically, Salon notes, the joint committee spent more than $300,000 for space, lodging and catering at Trump’s hotel business in the wake of his election loss. The campaign also spent tens of thousands to rent space at Trump Tower after November 3.
The campaign and the joint committee each also separately paid more than $30,000 for air travel to DT Endeavor, a company believed to be owned by Trump.
Trump has as much as $1 billion in business debt that will soon come due. A New York Times investigation into years of his tax returns showed that he has reported hundreds of millions in losses in recent years.
The campaign also reported paying $6,037 to Arizona State Representative Mark Finchem, a Republican who pushed to overturn Trump’s electoral defeat in the state, the Arizona Republic first reported. Finchem, who is not a lawyer, was paid for “legal consulting” in a “recount” effort through a company he did not include in his most recent financial disclosure, according to the campaign’s filings.
Finchem told the Republic that the payment was for costs related to “crowd control and security” for a meeting he held with Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani at a hotel on Nov. 30 about unfounded claims of election-rigging.
He later promoted the Trump rally that preceded the deadly January 6 Capitol riot and was set to speak outside the Capitol that day, according to the Arizona Republic.
Finchem, who said he never got within 500 yards of the Capitol building, posted a photo of a mob of Trump supporters on the Capitol steps, writing that it is “what happens when the People feel they have been ignored, and Congress refuses to acknowledge rampant fraud.”
Now, Newsweek reports, Arizona legislators are considering expelling Finchem from office—claiming he violated his oath and undermined democracy by attending the rally and promoting unfounded allegations of election fraud.
State Representative César Chávez, a Phoenix Democrat, filed an ethics complaint last month, arguing that Finchem’s social media posts “demonstrate beyond any doubt that he was participated in the insurrection in Washington, D.C. and supported others in their efforts.”
The left-leaning watchdog group Accountable.US said the financial disclosure suggested that Trump was “paying state legislators” to join his “two-month crusade to try and stay in power.”
“Mark Finchem must explain this payment from the Trump campaign and how it influenced his official work as a legislator to try and overturn a free and fair election,” a spokesperson told the Arizona Republic.
Meanwhile, Salon reports, while the latest disclosures shed some light on the campaign’s post-election spending, Trump is still sitting on much of the cash he raised from supporters—ostensibly meant to fund his election legal challenges. Trump raised more than $170 million after the election, after bombarding supporters with fundraising appeals; but most of the money went to a fundraising committee he set up after his defeat rather than his legal efforts.
Research contact: @Salon