July 19, 2017
The Republican Governors Association (RGA) paid the president’s Trump National Doral Miami golf club $408,588, according to the group’s latest filing with the IRS. The expenses apparently relate to the group’s “Corporate Policy Summit” that was held at the club in May. These payments are the latest in a series by political groups seeking a presidential touch for fundraisers and events. The expenditures, which were labeled as “travel,” “lodging,” and “event,” according to the RGA filing, are the largest payments yet reported to a Trump business by a political entity since the president assumed office, by a wide margin.
The two-day event convened some of the nation’s highest-profile Republican governors, including Wisconsin’s Scott Walker and Florida’s Rick Scott. A portion of the schedule shared with the Tampa Bay Times included “Regional Parlors” held in the resort’s “Ivanka” meeting rooms, and a “Corporate Plenary Session” on energy that included a discussion between attending governors and industry representatives on “how they hope to work with the new Administration.”
The president’s golf clubs have become popular event venues for political groups. Last month, CREW reported that the Republican Party of Virginia paid Trump National Golf Course in Potomac Falls, Virginia almost ten grand for an event featuring White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer as a “special guest.” On Saturday, NJ.com reported that Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-NJ)’s joint fundraising committee paid Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, NJ $15,221 for “venue rental/catering” for a June fundraiser headlined by President Trump. And on Monday, BuzzFeed News reported that Republican campaigns and committees besides the Trump campaign have reported spending around $72,000 at Trump businesses, according to currently available data from the Federal Election Commission.
The RGA’s payments to Trump National Doral Miami are also significantly larger than payments the organization made for similar events in 2016, suggesting the group may be willing to pay more to patronize the president’s businesses. According to IRS records compiled by Political Moneyline, the most the RGA paid an event venue that year was $285,616 at the Ritz Carlton in Half Moon Bay, which included the event deposit, venue rental, lodging, parking, and travel expenses.