June 29, 2017
President Trump attended a fundraiser for his campaign at his own hotel this week, raising an estimated $10 million for his campaign and the Republican National Convention, while also enriching himself personally. But the President’s re-election campaign is not the only political committee spending money at his properties. According to its latest monthly Federal Election Commission (FEC) filing, the Virginia Republican Party’s May 18th fundraiser at Trump National Golf Course in Potomac Falls, Virginia netted the president’s business almost ten thousand dollars. The event, which featured White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer as a “special guest,” raised eyebrows as an especially stark example of overlap between the Trump administration and the Trump business empire, with lucrative potential for the president. This filing shows just how lucrative.
Two of the event’s key speakers both noted the venue’s ties to President Trump. Virginia Republican Party Chair John Whitbeck began his remarks, “Just to remind everybody, we are standing on a property owned by our president Donald J. Trump.” Spicer also linked the venue to the White House, saying, “[O]ne of the things that the media won’t ever tell you is, you look around this place — the quality of the people, the quality of the establishment, the quality of the food — it’s what Trump’s all about. It’s all about quality. And It’s the same kind of qualities, and the same kind of dedication, that he’s brought to the White House.”
The “quality of the establishment” was not lost on the fundraiser’s hosts, who shelled out $9,705 for “Room rental and catering for Event” for the fundraiser. According to FEC records, this is the first time the Virginia Republican Party has rented a Trump property for an event.
The expenditure makes Virginia’s the third state Republican party to spend money at a Trump property since the election, according to FEC filings. The Republican Party of Florida spent $734 at Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas on November 15th for “travel.” The New Jersey Republican State Committee paid $1,245 for Governor Chris Christie to stay at Trump Soho Hotel in New York City in January, and paid Trump Soho $1,409 in “Travel Expense[s]” in November, days after the election. In fact, the New Jersey Republican State Committee has spent money at Trump Soho Hotel on half a dozen occasions since June 2016, when Trump became the presumptive nominee. According to FEC records, the party had never spent funds there before. Additionally, the Republican Governors Association held a “corporate policy summit” at Trump National Doral in May, but the cost of the event has yet to be disclosed.
These recent expenditures by Republican political committees suggest that President Trump’s time in office is likely to be a financial boon to the Trump Organization, and to President Trump himself.