The Trump campaign’s rent for its headquarters at Trump Tower has soared in just a few months.
The Huffington Post reports that, according to FEC records, until March Donald Trump’s campaign had been paying $35,458 in rent each month since last summer. In July, the campaign paid $169,758—an increase of nearly 500%.
What’s interesting is that on May 18, after his Republican opponents had all dropped out of the race, Trump and the RNC announced a joint fundraising deal. Prior to that deal most of his campaign spending had come out of his own pocket, but now Trump’s money makes up just a small fraction of those funds.
Trump’s campaign told the Huffington Post that it moved its headquarters to a larger space in Trump Tower, explaining the rent increase. Additionally, it added that Trump himself donates $2 million to the campaign each month, which more than covers the rent. However, it’s uncertain why the campaign would need a larger space considering it had 25 fewer staff members in July than it did in March. Though Hillary Clinton’s campaign pays more in rent, about $212,000, it also employs about four times as many people.
“Nobody cares when you’re spending your own money, but when you’re spending the donor’s $27, that could cause a problem,” a member of the RNC told the Huffington Post. He then, perhaps inadvertently, gave Clinton some advice: “If they don’t have any more staff, and they’re paying five times more? That’s the kind of stuff I’d read and try to make an [attack] ad out of it.”
It’s not just the hiked up rent that’s concerning. One of Trump’s largest campaign expenses is travel. The nominee flies around the country in his Boeing 757, and in July the campaign paid $495,000 to the Trump company that owns the plane. The RNC member stated that “most campaigns run on a much tighter budget.”
Additionally, the same day that Trump and the RNC announced their fundraising deal, the campaign made payments to three Trump properties. Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach received $29,715; Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Florida received $35,845; and Trump Restaurants LLC received $125,080. Press conferences had been hosted by both golf courses two months earlier, but it’s unclear why the restaurant was paid.
Donald Trump’s campaign could not immediately be reached for comment.