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WASHINGTON – Former President Donald Trump can no longer funnel Republican donor money into his own pockets, but he has found other GOP candidates willing to do it for him.

Utah Senator Mike Lee, who helped plan an effort to dump Trump as the 2016 candidate for this summer’s convention, held a fundraiser of $ 5,300 per person last Saturday at the Social Club of Trump Mar-a-Lago in Florida. And South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem has set aside $ 4,000 per person for March 5.

Trump is the sole owner, and now a full time resident, of the Palm Beach Swimming, Tennis and Croquet Club, which has been a frequent site of the Republican National Committee fundraising events and the Trump campaign. since the spring of 2016, when Trump took control of the party.

“He’s back in the hospitality business,” said Steve Duprey, a former RNC member from New Hampshire. “I guess he never left.

How much, exactly, the Lee and Noem campaigns spent to organize their events in Mar-a-Lago will not be revealed publicly until they file campaign reports with the Federal Election Commission and the Secretary of State. State of South Dakota, respectively. Lee is due to file a quarterly report in April, but Noem will not have to disclose his expenses for nearly a year. The two are vying for re-election in 2022.


Alex Wong / Getty Images

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem is campaigning for the then senator. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) Outside the Gritz Family Restaurant on January 3, 2021, in McDonough, Georgia.

Neither Trump’s office, nor Lee’s campaign, nor the Trump organization, the former president’s family business that manages most of his properties, responded to HuffPost’s questions about fundraising. A woman answering a phone number for Noem’s campaign hung up after being told she was speaking with a reporter.

During the years of his presidency, Trump asked the RNC and his campaign to spend $ 8.5 million in donor funds on his own businesses, according to a review of FEC files by HuffPost. This included $ 639,031 spent in Mar-a-Lago to organize a handful of fundraising lunches and dinners.

Both Lie and the events of Noem in Mar-a-Lago were first reported by Politico.

Given how much so many Republican donors are in love with Trump, even after his electoral defeat and the insurgency he sparked on Capitol Hill, the events of Lee and Noem will likely help them in the long run, even though Trump charged them high restaurant and room rental costs. , Said Duprey. He added that he expects other GOP candidates to follow suit.

“It’s probably a good investment,” said Duprey, who was beaten for re-election to the RNC for not being pro-Trump enough. “If you’re trying to appeal to the president’s supporters, this is a great place to do it.”

Republican candidates and committees beyond Trump’s control spent $ 2 million on his properties during his four years in office, according to HuffPost magazine.

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