Trump Victory PAC Paid Around $400,000 to Trump Hotel Amid Pandemic

The Trump Victory political action committee paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to Trump Hotels amid the coronavirus pandemic, newly released Federal Election Commission filings show.

In quarterly filings submitted on July 15, the FEC's deadline for second-quarter filings, Trump Victory recorded disbursements to the Trump Hotel Collection totaling more than $370,000 between the dates of March 12 and April 1.

While additional payments were made earlier in March, bringing the total past $400,000, those payments would have been made before the WHO declared coronavirus a pandemic on March 11.

A separate series of payments made on March 31 and on April 1 to the same invoice all appear to be under $10,000, changing incrementally by $100.

The payments were highlighted on social media by Anna Massoglia, a researcher at campaign finance watchdog Open Secrets.

"Trump Victory paid ~$400,000 to Trump Hotel in Q2 alone—steering over $3 MILLION in donations from presidential campaign donors to Trump family, properties & businesses with his 2020 re-election campaign & Trump MAGA joint fundraising [committee]," Massoglia wrote in a tweet.

Speaking with Newsweek, Massoglia, said: "Trump's campaign and joint fundraising committees have continued to pour money into Trump businesses throughout his re-election campaign. The most recently disclosed spending continues this trend."

Since Donald Trump first launched his 2016 campaign, there have been concerns around the benefits his family stands to reap through his political career.

And with the November election just months away, the president's businesses continue to make money.

Earlier this year, reporting from The Washington Post highlighted significant government spending at the president's properties, with the Secret Service, for example, having paid $650 a night to stay at Mar-a-Lago.

"He's paying our money to himself," The Post's David Fahrenthold said, describing the situation in an episode of ProPublica's Trump, Inc.

According to analysis from Open Secrets, prior to July's second-quarter filings, Trump Victory had been the highest spending political committee at Trump properties, followed by the Republican National Committee and Donald J. Trump for President.

More than half of the payments made by committees to Trump properties were considered "Trump-related."

Past reporting has shown that before Trump's 2016 election campaign, Republican campaigns and political groups used to largely ignore Trump hotels.

A Public Citizen report obtained by Politico last year found that between 2012 and 2014, campaigns and political groups spent a combined total of around $69,000 at Trump businesses.

But from June 2015, when Trump announced he was running for president, to late 2019, political spending at Trump properties soared to more than $19 million.

While some of the initial spike was due to Trump's campaign using a Trump company plane during the election race, a large share of the spending came from conservative candidates and groups.

"Political groups' spending at Trump businesses has certainly increased during Trump's time running for president and in the White House," Massoglia said. "Outside of Trump's campaign and closely-tied supporting groups, political committees reported spending less than $227,000 from the 2008 to 2016 cycles. Now that number is seven figures."

Newsweek has contacted Trump Victory and the Trump campaign for comment.

This article has been updated with comments from Anna Massoglia.

Trump international hotel
General view of the Trump International Hotel and Tower on Columbus Circle on January 24, 2020 in New York City. RBL/Bauer-Griffin/GC/Getty