I confess even I’m surprised at what the overnight FEC filings revealed about the Trump campaign. Posting the ‘Trump is Broke‘ column yesterday made me feel at least a touch exposed since I figured he’d add (either from his own money or fundraising) at least some additional funds to the paltry $2.4 million cash on hand in his previous filing. Appears not. Now on top of that it’s revealed that he’s been using his presidential campaign to funnel millions of dollars back into his own businesses. The new filing shows the campaign had only $1.3 million in cash on hand at the beginning of this month, in comparison to $42 million on hand for the Hillary campaign.
It’s important to see those numbers in the proper perspective.
Yes, Clinton has massively more money than Trump. But that’s about the amount of money she should have. This isn’t to take away from the accomplishment. It’s a lot of money and it came while she was still having to spend money on the on-going primaries. But it’s in the range of what you would expect from a well-oiled team of professionals drawing on a robust fundraising apparatus. Trump’s amount of cash wouldn’t be terribly impressive for a competitive House race. His campaign is essentially broke. Which, as I noted yesterday, means Trump must be broke, too, or so cash poor as to amount to the same thing for the purposes of this campaign.
Even more revealing is the fact that Trump has been using a huge amount of campaign expenditures to cycle money back through his own businesses. According to an analysis by the AP, through the end of May Trump had plowed $6.2 million into various Trump companies, which is to say, back into his own pocket. That’s roughly 10% of his campaign spending so far, which is almost entirely from the loan (which he can still repay to himself out of future fundraising) he made to his campaign. He kept up the pace in May, spending $6.7 million on his campaign and more than a million of that to various Trump enterprises.
What’s notable about that roughly 10% of money back into his own pocket is that Trump only has businesses in so many sectors. He doesn’t appear to have a company to make red trucker hats and he doesn’t own radio and TV stations to run ads. So that 10% is basically as much as he could possibly run to own companies.
Perhaps the most revealing detail about the May filing is that Trump actually did loan his campaign additional funds – a bit over $2 million. But this shows more just how hard up Trump is. His campaign is in desperate need of funds. Like I said, $1.3 million cash on hand is stone broke for a summer presidential campaign. He clearly has no principled resistance to loaning his campaign more money. And he’s in desperate need of a few tens of millions of dollars. Put this together with having to be shamed into coughing up the $1 million contribution to a vets organization and the implication is clear: Trump is very hard pressed to come up with even a few million dollars. And this from a man purportedly worth $10 billion.
Trump’s promises of vast riches got the GOP into a bind relying on him to fund a general election on his own. But that was all a lie. He’s broke or near broke. And the GOP is now facing mid-summer with a campaign that is broke, has no fundraising apparatus, no candidate with big bucks and no field operation. He’s done the GOP worse than the most screwed over creditor he ever sharked.