According to campaign finance filings, Donald Trump’s presidential campaign has paid more than $8.2 million to businesses owned by his family, which Politico describes as “an unprecedented amount of self-dealing in federal politics.”
Altogether, expenditures on Trump-owned businesses account for 7 percent of the campaign’s total spending—$119 million. Politico reports:
While federal election law prohibits corporations from donating cash, goods or services to campaigns, the regulations do include an exception — and it’s the one that election law experts interviewed for this story say Trump is most likely using. It allows people who own certain types of companies — including LLCs or sole proprietorships — to donate from those entities to campaigns and have those donations be considered to have come from the person.
It’s unclear precisely how Trump’s various businesses are structured, but he likely would have to be the sole owner of the ones that are donating services to the campaign in order for those donations to pass legal muster. [...]
Regardless of how Trump’s corporate entities are structured, the campaign is legally required to charge them fair-market rates for goods or services received, even if Trump ultimately writes off the bills as donations.
The Trump campaign has paid $1.3 million in rent to Trump businesses, $544,000 for food and the use of facilities, and $333,000 in payroll to Trump Organization employees.
The vast majority of the spending—almost $6 million—went to a company called TAG Air, for the use of Trump’s own private plane.