Donald Trump, a professed billionaire and the President of the United States, appears to be using tens of thousands of dollars of his supporters’ donations each month to fund a campaign office in his own Trump Tower, according to HuffPost — even though that office is home to no more than four or five staffers.
Some of the $37,500 per month goes right into Trump’s pocket, and the arrangement is particularly notable as “the building has been shedding commercial tenants since he became president, and currently has 41,271 square feet available for rent across five floors.”
One of the Trump campaign’s informal advisers told HuffPost that the Trump Tower office is “a valuable asset to have,” and both the president and top campaign officials prefer to keep it around.
But a former campaign staffer told the publication that “The reality is there would be even more commercial space available in Trump Tower. The staffer added that “[Michael] Glassner [the campaign’s executive director] goes there daily so they can rationalize it.”
Though the arrangement easily raises ethical flags, it might not go so far as crossing the line of legality, according to the Campaign Legal Center’s Erin Chlopak. “Campaigns do have a fair amount of leeway to determine how much space they need and how much to spend for it,” she said, but if it could be determined that the Trump Tower space serves no legitimate campaign purpose, it might be illegal.
Making that determination might be difficult, but HuffPost noted that a need for the Manhattan office is hard to fathom:
“The campaign has been describing with some pride its ability to acquire a fully furnished upper floor in a 19-story building in Arlington’s Rosslyn neighborhood by purchasing a sublease at a low price. The expansive windows offer sweeping views across the Potomac River and onto Washington, D.C.’s monuments and tidal basin.”
Coupled with the fact that Trump Tower’s vacancy rate is now double the average in Manhattan, the New York office space becomes all the more mysterious.
HuffPost said the Trump campaign did not respond to its questions, “including a request to determine the size and configuration of its Trump Tower campaign office.”