Republican Donald Trump has so far paid $7.7 million in campaign contributions to his own companies and children, according to a filing with the Federal Elections Commission, and as the campaign transitions to the general election those payments are increasing. In May, they totaled at least $1.1 million—nearly 20 percent of all campaign spending that month—and in July, another $800,000 came into the Trump brood.
Campaign finance laws on the topic are hazy and contradictory, largely because no candidate for federal office has ever had such a sprawling business empire that could be employed for a campaign. The FEC allows candidates to rent themselves their own office space—as the Trump campaign does at Trump Tower—but bans them from collecting royalties on any memoirs purchased by the campaign. Money ultimately flows back to the candidate in both cases but the FEC has issued divergent rules.
In July alone, Trump's campaign paid $169,758.33 in rent to Trump Tower Corporation LLC, $48,239.77 for rent and catering at Trump National Golf Club in Weschester, $1,000 to Trump Restaurants LLC, and $428.53 worth of Trump's bottled water Trump Ice. In May, Trump's campaign spent $3,938.58 at the vineyard run by his son Eric. Campaign dollars are also funneled to allies of Trump's children. Each month, the campaign spends millions on apparel like the "Make America Great Again" trucker hats. The manufacturer, Ace Specialties, is owned by Christl Mahfouz, a board member on Eric Trump's charitable foundation.
I wonder if Sarah Palin lays awake at night and thinks to herself "Running for President and using campaign donations to make my family rich instead of PAC contributions, why didn't I think of that?"
Around the internet folks have started to call this the Trump "scampaign" and I think that hits the nail right on the head.
This is just like Trump airlines, Trump University, and Trump steaks. All the Donald is doing is marketing his name in order to line his pockets with every intention of getting out before anybody gets a chance to examine the product closely.
And after this he will take his new notoriety and use it to launch that cable TV news show we keep hearing about, a reality show, or a new product line. Or perhaps all three.
While we are on the topic of this "scampaign" according to this article by the former Commissioner of the IRS Trump's supposed audit is NO reason not to release his tax returns:
He can and should immediately release the first two pages of his Form 1040, along with his Schedule A, for the past 20 years. This would tell us how much he makes, how much he pays in taxes, and how much he contributes to charity.
Releasing this information would have no impact on any pending or future IRS audit of Trump. Zero. None. It is a risk-free first step with no downside. While painting a far from complete portrait, it would answer a few of the questions that Trump himself has raised during the campaign: He claims that he makes a lot of money; he claims that he makes significant charitable contributions; and he claims that he reduces his tax liability as far as current law allows.
The first two pages of his enormous tax returns, along with his Schedule A, will shed important light on these claims. The first two pages plus the Schedule A of the Clintons' 2015 tax return tell us they made $10.6 million; that they made charitable contributions of $1.0 million; and that they paid federal taxes of $3.6 million, for an effective tax rate of 34 percent. We have that same information about the Clintons for the past 20 years. The first two pages of Trump's tax returns, together with his Schedule A, would provide us with the same information for him. He can and should share that information with no audit risk whatsoever.
But Trump's not going to do that.
Because if he did we would know for a fact that he is full of shit and that all of this is indeed a "scampaign."
This is why I don't really care about how the Right Wing attacks Clinton over her e-mails, the Clinton foundation, and her supposed "health problems."
First off those are all complete bullshit, but more importantly they don't matter.
Ultimately we really only have ONE candidate who can win this election, ONE candidate who is preparing to do the job, and ONE candidate who is even really running a campaign.
Donald Trump is putting on a show, and trying to grift as much money as possible while doing it.
He is NOT an actual Republican candidate.
And the GOP does not have the time or the machinery in position to replace him.
In other words, and I have said this before, everybody needs to start practicing the phrase "Madame President."