WaPo: Trump plans gala at Mar-a-Lago tonight, will again rent a ballroom from himself

The Mar-a-Lago Club is set to host a high-priced gala on Saturday night, likely without the guest of honor.

AP Mar-a-Lago
(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

The brilliance behind this is that even though President Trump isn’t expected to attend the posh event due to the government shutdown, aptly dubbed Schumer’s Shutdown after obstructionist Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, he still stands to make money, to the angst of The Washington Post.

Saturday marks the anniversary of when Trump took the oath of office and the $100,000-per-couple event was intended to celebrate his first year in office and raise money for his reelection efforts as well as the Republican National Committee, according to The Post.

Trump is expected to remain in Washington, but the paper noted that by holding the event at his own club, he “will be able to collect tens of thousands of dollars in fees for food, ballroom rental and other costs.”

And this is prompting the expected ethics complaints.

Post reporter David Fahrenhold wrote that Trump has effectively “transformed his supporters’ political donations into revenue for his business.”

Fahrenhold went on to detail previous campaign events held at Trump venues:

Since Trump began running for president in summer 2015, he has repeatedly used his hotels and golf courses as venues for his campaign events — and paid himself for the privilege.

During the 2016 election cycle, Trump’s campaign spent at least $791,000 to hold events at 12 Trump-branded venues: three hotels, seven golf courses, a condo building and Mar-a-Lago, federal campaign filings show. That was on top of millions more that Trump’s campaign paid his businesses for other expenses such as hotel stays, meals and rent for office space at Trump Tower.

 

But the bottom line is, there’s nothing illegal about the activity, according to Paul S. Ryan, a campaign finance expert at the government watchdog group Common Cause.

“The prevailing view among election lawyers is that the law isn’t violated so long as the campaign committee pays fair market value for the goods and services received from Mar-a-Lago,” Ryan told The Post.

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Tom Tillison

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