Republican candidates and campaign committees have spent more than $4 million at hotel, golf and vineyard properties that bear President Trump’s name since he was inaugurated in 2017.
More than three dozen members of Congress have held fundraisers or spent the night at Trump properties, according to a review of filings made with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) over the last two years.
More than a quarter of the money spent has come from Trump’s own campaign, which has paid his businesses nearly $1.5 million over that span, both for rent and for fundraisers.
The Republican National Committee (RNC) has spent more than $1.1 million at Trump-branded properties in both Washington and Florida.
Watchdog groups have raised concerns over the propriety of Trump profiting off businesses as foreign governments and corporate interest groups currying favor in Washington book rooms at Trump hotels — including Trump’s hotel in Washington, D.C.
Attorneys general in Washington, D.C., and Maryland have sued the federal government, alleging the Trump International Hotel in Washington puts the president in violation of the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause.
There is nothing in the Constitution that bans a campaign from spending money at a company that benefits a candidate. But those good-government groups say the mixture of business and politics creates a combustible potion.
“The behavior itself is corrupting, and it’s creating corruption and the appearance of corruption,” said Meredith McGehee, the executive director of Issue One, a group that advocates for ethics in government.