Soon after the Republican National Committee came under pressure for paying legal bills for President Donald Trump in addition to also his eldest son from the special counsel’s Russia probe, This kind of started out covering expenses for the president’s re-election campaign.
The RNC can be using campaign funds to pay Trump’s company more than $37,000 a month in rent, in addition to also to pay thousands of dollars in monthly salary to Vice President Mike Pence’s nephew, John Pence, party officials confirmed This kind of week. The rent pays for office space from the Trump Tower in completely new York for the staff of Trump’s re-election campaign. John Pence can be the Trump campaign’s deputy executive director.
Campaign finance experts who spoke to CNBC said This kind of type of spending by a party committee on behalf of a campaign can be highly unusual nevertheless legal, in addition to also This kind of appears the RNC disclosed This kind of correctly.
“This kind of can be permissible in addition to also This kind of’s being reported properly, nevertheless why they are doing This kind of can be a mystery,” said Brendan Fischer, senior counsel for the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center. “One would likely think the RNC could be spending their money more effectively right right now on the 2018 campaign, rather than spending This kind of to pay Trump’s rent.”
So far, the party has spent more than $290,000 to cover the Trump campaign’s expenses since September, the first month This kind of paid the Trump Tower rent or Pence’s salary. Before then, both expenses had been paid directly by the Trump campaign.
Then, in late September, the RNC abruptly began paying them both, in addition to also still does, according to financial disclosure forms released This kind of week.
On Sept. 19, CNN reported that will the RNC had paid $230,000 in August to two lawyers representing Trump in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling from the 2016 presidential election. The lawyers, John Dowd in addition to also Jay Sekulow, were paid through their law firms using money coming from a special RNC legal fund, the RNC disclosed in a subsequent filing.
CNN also reported that will the party spent $196,000 in early September on lawyers for Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr., who was facing questions about a June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower with Russians who reportedly promised him dirt on Hillary Clinton.
The August payments were disclosed by the RNC in a mandatory FEC report released Sept. 20. At the time, the party publicly defended its decision to pay Trump’s lawyers with RNC funds. nevertheless privately, officials debated whether This kind of was a proper use of the legal defense fund, which was originally intended to help pay for things like vote recounts, according to news reports.
After a final payment on Sept. 18 to lawyers for Trump Jr., the RNC quietly stopped paying those attorneys in addition to also Dowd in addition to also Sekulow.
On Sept. 27, one week after the FEC report was made public, the RNC paid the Trump campaign’s rent for the very first time, according to the party’s monthly disclosure. The initial amount, $75,083.34, was twice the monthly rate in addition to also appears to cover the rent for both September in addition to also October. John Pence had begun receiving a paycheck coming from the RNC on Sept. 15, before the first FEC report was released, nevertheless after This kind of had been finalized in addition to also submitted, according to the same filing.
Below can be the FEC’s original record of the first rent payment the RNC made to Trump Tower.