A classic campaign trick often executed by candidates and party operatives and advisers is to spend millions of dollars of donors’ money on contracting/consulting companies that are owned by said candidates/operatives/advisers or their cronies. If done right, it’s a legal way to transfer donors’ money to yourself and your friends; the downside is that it looks pretty sleazy when people discover what you’re doing. To wit: The Trump campaign’s May Federal Election Commission filing (which is getting a lot of scrutiny because it indicates that campaign is shockingly low on funds) indicates that Trump is spending a huge chunk of the campaign money he does have on his own companies.
Mar-a-Lago is Trump’s Palm Beach resort/estate. He also pays one of his own companies for air travel.
One caveat here is that Trump’s disclosure forms say he’s loaned his own campaign $45 million, which would mean much of the money being spent came from him originally. On the other hand, he’s now raising campaign money from big Republican donors. That money could be used to reimburse Trump for the $45 million.
“It’s very possible that I could be the first presidential candidate to run,” Trump told Fortune in 2000, “and make money on it.”