December 9, 2016

Trump's latest conflicts of interest

Don Kaplan, NY Daily News - No, it's not OK for Donald Trump to continue to be paid as an executive producer of "The Celebrity Apprentice" while serving as the President of the United States.

It's kooky and it stinks. The most powerful man in the world will have a big financial, egotistical and emotional stake in the success of the high-visibility, prime-time show, according to Variety. Worse, it's a program on one of the world's biggest networks — that just happens to boast one of the most recognized news organizations on the globe.

The sprawling, 4 million-strong, fertile morning show audience of the "Today" show is the perfect platform to reach potential viewers, to come see "Terminator" star Arnold Schwarzenegger (oops, former Governor of California!) play the role of the big orange cheese who fires people after they humiliate each other on TV.

Huffington Post -  Donald Trump’s presidential campaign sent Donald Trump’s businesses $2.9 million in the final days prior to and the weeks following his election.

Trump’s Miami golf club, where he staged an Oct. 25 news conference to showcase his employees who like him, received $13,015. Trump’s hotel in Las Vegas received $176,933 for lodgings from his presidential campaign and $60,442 more from a joint fundraising committee for Trump and the Republican National Committee.

Trump Tower in Manhattan, meanwhile, received a whopping $462,011 in rent, including $283,500 on Nov. 28 – nearly $114,000 more than the campaign had been paying for its headquarters space for the previous several months.

The president-elect’s transition team did not respond to a Huffington Post query regarding the higher rent payment.

The burst of spending brings to more than $12 million the total Trump has funneled back to his businesses since the start of the campaign. It continues his pattern of choosing to spend donors’ money at his own properties for events and on his own airplane for travel, even though it meant spending considerably more than comparable alternatives.

Trump paid his West Palm Beach, Florida, golf resort $29,715 in May following a “victory” party he held there March 5. He sent $35,845 to his club in nearby Jupiter after a March 8 party. In both cases, the attendees were mainly dues-paying members of the clubs rather than campaign staff or volunteers. And in both cases he could have held his party at the West Palm Beach Marriott for less than half of what he spent.

Also in May, Trump paid his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach $423,372 in campaign funds even though he had held only two victory parties and a news conference there two months earlier.

Trump similarly chose to rent office space at New York’s Trump Tower at about $100 per square foot ? about three times the rate the Clinton campaign had been paying for its headquarters in Brooklyn. Trump’s rent ? $169,758 a month ? jumped nearly five times higher once he secured the nomination and was spending donor money rather than his own.

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