Grifter Chronicles: Trump Has Paid Himself $12 Million To Run For President

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Beginning days before the election and during the four weeks since, reality show star-turned-president elect Donald Trump’s campaign has paid his own businesses almost $3 million.

According to federal election filings, Trump’s properties have received more than $12 million altogether over the course of his election run. S.V. Date reports:

Trump’s Miami golf club, where he staged an Oct. 25 news conference to showcase his employees who like him, received $13,015. Trump’s hotel in Las Vegas received $176,933 for lodgings from his presidential campaign and $60,442 more from a joint fundraising committee for Trump and the Republican National Committee.

Trump Tower in Manhattan, meanwhile, received a whopping $462,011 in rent, including $283,500 on Nov. 28 – nearly $114,000 more than the campaign had been paying for its headquarters space for the previous several months.

The president-elect’s transition team did not respond to a Huffington Post query regarding the higher rent payment.

It is just one of the ways in which Trump has made like a bandit since Election Day. No ethical rules seem to apply to Trump. He can overcharge the Secret Service, appoint his own creditors to key posts, and raise unlimited funds with zero accountability, all while maintaining full control of his business.

We also learned yesterday that Trump can continue to moonlight as an NBC reality show producer, even as NBC News reports on his conflicts of interest, without creating further conflicts of interest.

It’s unclear what his per-episode fee is, but it is likely to be in the low five-figures, at minimum. NBC has ordered eight episodes of “The New Celebrity Apprentice.” Trump’s fees will be paid through MGM, the production entity on the show, not NBC. MGM declined to comment on the financial terms of Trump’s deal.

Chief Trump apologist Kellyanne Conway opined that the new president will perform his executive producer role “in his spare time,” implicitly suggesting that Donald will only be a part-time national executive. That is also an admission his promises to divest and focus on the presidency were all lies; Donald Trump will be very busy making money for the next four years.

At TPM, Josh Marshall suggests that Trump was really never that rich to begin with, and that his wealth is an illusion which would disintegrate if he tried to form an actual blind trust.

Since we don’t have Trump’s tax returns, there’s just a huge amount we don’t know about his businesses. What we do know is that Trump appears to wildly exaggerate the scale of his wealth and exhibit a stinginess that is very hard to square with a man of the kinds of means he claims. A heavily leveraged business, one that is indebted and dependent on cash flow to keep everything moving forward, can be kind of like a shark. It has to keep moving forward or it dies.

“Maybe he can’t divest,” Marshall says, “because he’s too underwater to do so or more likely he’s too dependent on current and expanding cash flow to divest or even turn the reins over to someone else.”

Marshall argues that the timing of Trump’s July stock selloff, a decision he has only explained this week, was not a divestment so much as a cashing-out, because the timing coincides with Trump’s decision to forgive the $50 million he had loaned his campaign during the primary race — a decision made under pressure by Republican donors, who worried Trump would simply repay himself instead of spending on his campaign.

Once the grifter builds an empire of grift, they must keep grifting forever. If they stop grifting, then the whole structure of the grift collapses.

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