Donald Trump’s campaign is paying more than ever to rent space inside his Trump Tower in New York.
Federal Election Commission reports show that the Republican presidential nominee’s campaign paid $35,457 per month for rent and utilities to Trump Tower Commercial LLC when Mr. Trump’s campaign was largely self-funded, roughly between August 2015 and this April. The payment began increasing, however, in May, after he had agreed to launch a joint fundraising venture with the Republican National Committee. Last month, rent hit $169,758, nearly four times what he paid earlier in the spring. The Huffington Post first noted the increase in payments.
The Trump campaign said in a statement the rent hike came as the Trump team expanded the space it rented from just the fifth floor to the entire 14th and 15th floors. The campaign tripled its space, even though it only has about 70 people on its payroll and a few dozen consultants.
The statement also said the rent was calculated based on the average price per square foot in the area. It noted Trump made a $2 million personal donation last month, which more than covers the rent.
“The expansion is in anticipation of more staff,” said Steven Cheung, director of Trump’s rapid response. Cheung himself is a recent hire whose salary wasn’t noted in the July reports.
Trump paid for most of his primary campaign out of his own pocket, and only began soliciting contributions in late May.
Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine, noted that Trump’s switch to using donor money coincided with the campaign’s increased rental payments.
“Once donors were writing checks to the campaign, Trump said, ‘Wow, I can get more money personally out of this,’” Kaine said at a campaign stop in Denver. He said Trump has a “what-can-the-campaign-do-for-me” ethos.
The Clinton campaign is paying $211,750 in rent per month for its Brooklyn headquarters, where, according to the campaign, “hundreds” of staffers work.