RNC paying $37K per month in 2020 campaign rent at Trump Tower

RNC paying $37K per month in 2020 campaign rent at Trump Tower
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The Republican National Committee (RNC) is reportedly already paying $37,000 a month for President TrumpDonald John TrumpAccuser says Trump should be afraid of the truth Woman behind pro-Trump Facebook page denies being influenced by Russians Shulkin says he has White House approval to root out 'subversion' at VA MORE’s 2020 reelection campaign’s office space in Trump Tower.

The party has been paying the rent, as well as thousands more in salary to Vice President Pence’s nephew, John Pence, who is the deputy executive director of the campaign, since September, totaling more than $290,000, according to CNBC.

The payments to John Pence are allegedly about $12,000 per month, plus an additional $9,000 paid for “strategy consulting."

The RNC began covering these expenses just days after coming under fire for paying Trump’s personal legal fees in relation to the Russia investigation.


Campaign finance experts told CNBC that the payments, which were revealed on new financial disclosure forms, are legal but unusual.

Brendan Fischer, senior counsel for the Campaign Legal Center, said the RNC is reporting the payments properly.

"This is permissible and it's being reported properly, but why they are doing it is a mystery," Fischer said. "One would think the RNC could be spending their money more effectively right now on the 2018 campaign, rather than spending it to pay Trump's rent."

Fischer questioned why the RNC would be paying these expenses for the campaign so early in the election cycle, since the campaign could likely cover the expenses themselves. Party committees are limited in how much they can spend on coordinated expenditures with a candidate.

"Why would [the RNC] be blowing through their allowed expenditures now, on something the campaign can easily afford?" Fischer said. "Did they think they needed to show loyalty to Trump by paying the rent at the building Trump owns?"

Other experts expressed confusion about the payments to CNBC, with one calling the situation “unprecedented.”

“If you follow the money, it sure looks like the Trump campaign is outsourcing payment for its bills to the Republican National Committee," said Stephen Spaulding, a former special counsel at the Federal Election Commission and now chief of strategy at Common Cause.

“It looks to me like the RNC is shuttling cash around to benefit Trump and the vice president's family in ways that are pretty unprecedented," he said.

CNBC reported earlier this week that the RNC is also paying $15,000 a month to a company owned by Trump’s former security chief for “security services.”