You would think that by virtue of the fact that Trump is using so many of his own resources for this campaign, ranging from traveling in his own plane to using his own building as a campaign headquarters, he’d be saving a lot of money.
As has been reported at length, however, he’s costing the RNC dearly, as he quadruples rent on his building – for himself – and has little output to show for the money.
Well, here’s one more story about how he’s lining his pockets through this election process.
Federal Election Commission records show that the U.S. Secret Service has paid the Trump campaign about $1.6 million to cover the cost of flying its agents with the candidate on a plane owned and operated by one of his companies.
It’s standard practice for the agency — which is tasked with protecting presidential candidates as well as presidents and other federal officials — to reimburse presidential campaigns for the cost of traveling with the candidates.
In fact, the Secret Service has reimbursed the Clinton campaign, too: $2.6 million so far this cycle.
The difference with Trump is that one of his companies, TAG Air, Inc., owns the plane, so the government is effectively paying him.
That’s right. Taxpayers are helping Trump get rich, by paying the people assigned to keep him safe, flying on his own plane.
“The taxpayers are actually reimbursing Trump for the travel of the Secret Service agents,” said Brett Kappel, a campaign finance lawyer at the law firm Akerman LLP. “It’s just another example of how the Trump campaign has taken an unprecedentedly large amount of its money and spent it at Trump-owned facilities.”
The difference between Hillary’s expenses and Trump’s are that the aircraft Hillary is using for travel is chartered through a company that is not owned by the Clintons.
The Secret Service is required to reimburse campaigns for those seats on flights during the course of a campaign season.
To date, Trump’s campaign has spent around $8.2 million in rental of his building and food from his restaurants. The greatest amount, however, is the $6 million paid to TAG Air.
Trump, who once said “I could be the first presidential candidate to run and make money on it,” has attracted criticism for mixing business and politics to an unprecedented degree. He has made a point of highlighting his properties on the campaign trail, leading opponents to accuse him of using his presidential bid to promote his brand and line his pockets.
And that’s exactly what it looks like.
Given his past behavior, it’s not out of the question to assume that this has all been one massive promotional tour for his brand.