For months, Donald Trump has bragged about the fact that he was self-funding his campaign. For months, that was only sort of true. During the first few months of his thoroughly atypical campaign, Trump didn't spend much money at all, as we noted in October. So when he got donations from individuals, which he did, that was covering a lot of his costs. In the third quarter of 2015, Trump spent $4.2 million and took in $3.8 million from other people.
On Oct. 1, the first day of the fourth quarter, Trump loaned his campaign a million dollars, followed by another $9.8 million through December. He took in $2.6 million from individuals (and gave himself a little over $100,000) in the last three months — meaning that he himself was actually paying for most of the $6.6 million the campaign spent between October and December. Self-funding after all.
But that's not the thing that's interesting here — at least, not for non-campaign-finance nerds. Here's the interesting thing:
Six cents of every dollar Donald Trump spent over the past three months was spent on hats. Every time Trump spent $16, one dollar of that was spent on hats. Donald Trump is making the baseball cap industry great again.
Trump's campaign also spent a lot of money in the fourth quarter that went back to Trump-owned or -affiliated companies. The campaign spent a lot of money in and around New York City — where it is based — including a lot of money in and around Trump Tower. That includes $20,000 to Trump Payroll Corp. and $48,000 to Trump Tower Commercial LLP for pre-paid payroll. Meals at Trump Grill and Trump Cafe, in the lobby of Trump Tower. But the biggest Trump-related recipient was Tag Air, of which Trump is CEO. Tag Air, which owns the plane he uses to get to his events, got $826,590 from the campaign.
Meaning that one out of every seven dollars spent by the campaign (also including more reimbursements of past payroll expenses) went to a Trump-affiliated company.
Donald Trump clearly should have opened up a hat manufacturing plant last spring.