The New York Times: Donald Trump’s Self-Funding Includes Payments to Family and His Companies
“He could end up turning a profit if he repaid himself for the campaign loans,” said Paul S. Ryan, a campaign finance expert with the Campaign Legal Center. “He could get all his money back plus the profit margin for what his campaign has paid himself for goods and services.”
Mr. Ryan said that the extent to which Mr. Trump was utilizing his own businesses for his run was unprecedented and that because of his unique financial circumstances, he was wading into territory that went beyond the commission’s guidance.
“We don’t have clear answers,” Mr. Ryan said. “Historically, candidates would separate themselves from their business interests when running for office. Trump has done the opposite by promoting his businesses while running for office.”
While candidates often gain recognition from running for president, they are barred from enriching themselves directly from their campaigns. When a campaign buys copies of a candidate’s book in bulk and distributes them, for example, the candidate cannot accept royalties from the purchases. However, Mr. Ryan notes that the election commission does allow candidates who own commercial property to rent it from themselves at fair market rates, as Mr. Trump has regularly done. Mr. Trump’s use of his branded water and steaks falls into something of a gray area.