CNBC: RNC started paying Trump campaign's rent at Trump Tower after it stopped covering Trump's legal bills for Russia probe


The RNC is using campaign funds to pay Trump's company more than $37,000 a month in rent, and to pay thousands of dollars in monthly salary to Vice President Mike Pence's nephew, John Pence, party officials confirmed this week. The rent pays for office space in the Trump Tower in New York for the staff of Trump's re-election campaign. John Pence is the Trump campaign's deputy executive director.


"This is permissible and it's being reported properly, but why they are doing it is a mystery," said Brendan Fischer, senior counsel for the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center. "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."


Trump's campaign, however, doesn't necessarily need to be efficient. "It's not like the Trump campaign doesn't have money on hand," said Campaign Legal Center's Fischer. "They've been actively fundraising since day one, so they have enough money to pay their own staff and payroll taxes." Officials at the Trump campaign did not respond to questions Friday from CNBC, including why they paid John Pence an additional $9,000 in December for "strategy consulting." Equally puzzling, Fischer said, is why the RNC would choose to begin coordinating with Trump now, three years before Election Day 2020. "There are limits to how much a party committee is allowed to spend on coordinated expenditures with a presidential candidate," he said. In 2016, the limit was $24 million, which may sound like a lot, but in reality was only 2 percent of the $1.2 billion that Republicans spent on the 2016 presidential race. "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?" CNBC relayed this question directly to officials at the RNC, who did not respond.

Read the full article