The Republican Party Continues to Spend Big at Trump Properties

March 21, 2018, 3:27 PM UTC
Trump Fundraiser
FILE - In this Dec. 21, 2016, file photo, The Trump International Hotel in Washington. President Donald Trump will hold his first re-election fundraiser at his own hotel in Washington on June 28, 2017. The president began his 2020 campaign on the day he was inaugurated and raised at least $7 million by the end of March. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)
Alex Brandon—AP

The Republican National Committee spent hundreds of thousands of dollars at Trump properties in February, according to newly filed documents with the Federal Election Commission.

In total, the RNC spent a little over $271,000 at the properties owned by the Trump Organization in February, the filings show. Over $205,000 was spent at the the Trump National Doral in Miami, Florida, and $65,000 was spent at the Trump International Hotel in Washington D.C. On a lesser note, approximately $678 was spent at the Trump Tower hotel in New York City.

The spending at the properties in Washington, D.C., and Miami were categorized as venue rental and catering. In February Trump delivered remarks at the Trump International Hotel in Washington during the committee’s winter meeting, and the RNC is expected to hold its spring meeting at the Trump National Doral.

The RNC did not immediately respond to a request for comment beyond what was detailed in the filing reports.

The RNC spent over $11 million last month, and the disbursements at Trump properites are a tiny fraction of that spending. But they represent a large increase from January, when the organization spent approximately $14,600 at the Trump International Hotel in D.C.

Experts say that while the spending at these properties is fine from a legal perspective, it is a major break from precedent.

“The RNC is allowed to spend campaign expenses at Trump properties,” said Corey Goldstone, spokesperson for the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center. “However, it is unusual for the RNC to spend this much money on rentals and catering three years before the 2020 election, when there are limits on how much a party committee can spend on coordinated expenditures with a presidential candidate. Usually most coordinated money is saved for advertising in the lead-up to Election Day to reach voters.”