Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

“Paid for by Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.”

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, August 15, 2019

Self dealing.

You’d think it was a crime, eh?

But, did you know that it is NOT illegal to shift campaign money into your private account?

Actually, directly, it is.

On their website, the Federal Election Commission states in part that, “Using campaign funds for personal use is prohibited.” (https://www.fec.gov/help-candidates-and-committees/making-disbursements/personal-use/)

They state further that, “Commission regulations provide a test, called the “irrespective test,” to differentiate legitimate campaign and officeholder expenses from personal expenses. Under the “irrespective test,” personal use is any use of funds in a campaign account of a candidate (or former candidate) to fulfill a commitment, obligation or expense of any person that would exist irrespective of the candidate’s campaign or responsibilities as a federal officeholder.”

But indirectly?

That’s a horse of an entirely different color.

In the white-collar criminal underground, that’s called “money laundering,” which is the practice of shifting money through legitimate business enterprises in order to make it appear as if the money was obtained legitimately.

And that is but one reason why the FBI encourages accounting majors in university to consider joining their service – because scouring the financial books of businesses and other entities takes a well-trained eye to discern criminal wrong-doing.

On June 16, 2015, Donald Trump stood in Trump Tower, New York City, and said, “I’m using my own money. I’m not using the lobbyists. I’m not using donors. I don’t care. I’m really rich.” (https://www.cbsnews.com/news/transcript-donald-trump-announces-his-presidential-candidacy/)

With that remark in part, he announced his candidacy to be the GOP’s nominee for President.

Of note, that was also when he’d made his now-infamous remark that, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people. But I speak to border guards and they tell us what we’re getting. And it only makes common sense. It only makes common sense. They’re sending us not the right people. It’s coming from more than Mexico. It’s coming from all over South and Latin America, and it’s coming probably — probably — from the Middle East. But we don’t know. Because we have no protection and we have no competence, we don’t know what’s happening. And it’s got to stop and it’s got to stop fast.”

But earlier – 5 years earlier, in fact – he’d said to Fortune magazine in April 3, 2000, that, “It’s very possible that I could be the first presidential candidate to run and make money on it.” (https://fortune.com/2000/04/03/what-does-donald-trump-really-want/)

In December 2018, Forbes magazine reported that from April 2015 to June 2016, he spent $50M for his campaign, but since the following month, July 2016, donors’ money has been deflected into his own holdings, while he has put nothing into it. (https://www.forbes.com/sites/danalexander/2018/12/06/how-donald-trump-shifted-11m-of-campaign-donor-money-into-his-business/)

A mere three months later, in March 2019, Forbes reported that “Donald Trump has charged his own reelection campaign $1.3 million for rent, food, lodging and other expenses since taking office, according to a Forbes analysis of the latest campaign filings.” (https://www.forbes.com/sites/danalexander/2019/03/20/trump-has-now-shifted-13m-of-campaign-donor-money-into-his-business/)

In that same Forbes report, they also noted that “although outsiders have contributed more than $50 million to the campaign, the billionaire president hasn’t handed over any of his own cash. The net effect: $1.3 million of donor money has turned into $1.3 million of Trump money.”

Following his election, the Trump campaign spent over $800,000 with Trump Tower Commercial LLC, which is the holding company in which Donald Trump controls his stake in the Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in New York City.

That holding firm also received $225,000 from the Republican National Committee, ostensibly for rent associated with the campaign.

As well, his campaign paid $54,000 – also ostensibly for rent – to the same holding company, Trump Plaza LLC, which also controls a property nearby with two brownstone apartment buildings.

Further, for $60,000 of campaign money, his campaign is renting something (though it’s not clear exactly what) from Trump Restaurants LLC, which is associated with Trump Tower – and the myriad pages of disclaimers found on Trump Tower’s website for Trump Restaurants LLC. (https://www.trumptowerny.com/terms-of-service)

The net effect, is that over $1,000,000 has flowed into Trump’s pocketbook.

Former Federal Election Commissioner Ann Ravel said, “This is extremely unusual. There is always a concern when you’re looking at expenditures as to whether those expenditures are being used for personal use, for personal purposes, because that’s illegal. And there is, in my opinion, a fine line here with so much money being utilized for economic benefit for the candidate himself.”

All this sounds very suspicious, especially given that on the day of his announcement of candidacy, he also said that, “I don’t need anybody’s money. It’s nice. I don’t need anybody’s money.”

But the largest clue comes from smallest print on a poster adjacent a Trump Ice Cream Parlor kiosk near Trump Grill:

“Paid for by Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.”

The official name of his campaign committee.


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