President Donald Trump is already looking forward to the 2020 presidential election according to new filings with the Federal Election Commission. The New York Times reports that the paperwork was filed on inauguration day. While most presidents do seek a second term, this move by Trump does not mean that he has officially decided on a second White House Run.
According to FEC rules, any campaign funds over $5,000 must be returned to donors unless Trump filed for re-election in the next campaign. The Trump campaign ended 2016 with $7.6 million and no debt obligations, but the money did not stop there.
The coffers were also filled with $4 million in expense refunds. This money comes from members of the media and Secret Service for seats that were taken up on the campaign’s plane. The campaign is required to charge a fair rate for these seats.
The FEC filings also revealed that Donald Trump’s campaign used campaign money to compensate Trump’s properties and relatives. Federal regulations allow campaigns to compensate businesses that are owned by candidates according to fair market value. But according to a report by NPR, what we are seeing is unprecedented.
The total figure amounts to $12.8 million, which includes payments to pay his relatives for unspecified campaign activities and to rent space in Trump properties, as well as fly on his own plane.
After winning the election Trump promised that he would not take a salary as president. However, it seems to me that he now has an endless supply of cash as his campaign can legally funnel money into his properties as he is not only president, but he is also a candidate.
I previously stated my concern that we could not truly know if decisions were being made by Trump the business man, or Trump the president. Now it seems, we must already begin to worry about Trump the candidate.