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Donald Trump’s 2024 White House campaign has increased spending at his properties, funneling money into his businesses amid financial and legal challenges. His joint fundraising committee made payments to Mar-a-Lago and Trump National Doral Miami, generating personal revenue off running for office. Campaign finance experts raise ethical concerns about candidates profiting from their campaigns in this way, which can contribute to distrust in the political system.

Trump is facing significant legal costs from civil and criminal cases, including defamation and fraud lawsuits that have resulted in large financial judgements against him. His campaign has paid millions to his businesses, mostly for air travel, since the beginning of 2023. Other GOP candidates, such as U.S. Senate candidate Bernie Moreno and U.S. Senate candidate Jim Marchant, have also spent campaign money at Trump properties, raising questions about potential conflicts of interest and the use of campaign funds.

Campaign spending at Trump’s properties, including Mar-a-Lago and Doral, has increased in recent months, with events like fundraisers and Super Tuesday watch parties being held at these locations. The Trump Save America Joint Fundraising Committee, along with other affiliated political committees, accounted for most of the spending at his properties. Concerns about Trump’s businesses benefiting from his political career have existed since his 2016 election, with critics questioning potential conflicts of interest and ethical issues.

Campaign finance experts point out that while Trump’s use of campaign funds at his businesses may not be illegal, it raises ethical concerns and creates a negative impression of the election system. Trump’s extensive business empire and the amount of money being spent at his properties by his campaign are unprecedented, with experts noting that no other candidate has operated in a similar manner. The primary requirement is that his businesses charge fair market value for their services, but questions remain about potential preferential treatment for his campaign and PACs.

Trump’s leadership PAC, Save America, has also spent millions on legal fees as he faces multiple criminal cases, including charges related to alleged payments to an adult film star. While spending campaign funds on legal issues is common, Trump’s extensive legal challenges and the amount of money being spent on legal fees have drawn scrutiny. Campaign finance experts believe that Trump’s use of campaign funds and his businesses raises ethical concerns and may push the boundaries of what is allowable in terms of campaign spending.

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