Just shy of one year post-inauguration, the millions in leftover money that President Donald Trump's committee said were earmarked for charity have yet to come out of hiding, leaving government watchdog groups wondering who benefited from the excess after all.
Trump's inauguration committee raised an unheard of $107 million for the event, more than double the amount any other president's committee raised - but nothing indicated the festivities would have surpassed more traditional price tags.
After funding Trump's celebration, the committee said it was evaluating charities that would receive the remaining money. In late September, the committee announced that it had donated $3 million to multiple groups involved in hurricane relief efforts in the Gulf Coast, Florida and the Caribbean. An undetermined amount of funds were allocated to redecorating the White House and Vice President Mike Pence's home in Washington, rather than charitable efforts.
Billionaire investor Thomas Barrack, who led the committee, said details regarding charitable donations would be released in November, but that never came to fruition, and nothing has been mentioned since.
Currently there are no laws on the books that stipulate how inauguration funds can or cannot be spent, but as with many things regarding this administration, the appearance of shady behavior is difficult to miss:
"We’ve never had an inaugural committee that just went hog wild and raised $107 million and had a huge surplus leftover," [Public Citizen government affairs lobbyist Craig] Holman told Newsweek. "There are no rules set up for how this money should be spent. It may not be illegal, but it certainly reeks of gross mismanagement and possibly political opportunism."