Trump appears to be leading his campaign to bankruptcy before the election. Where did all the money go?
Trump's campaign for president is the most expensive to date. He has raised $1.1 billion since early 2019, but has already spent $800.
In August, Trump and Republican fundraising efforts raised a combined $210 million, whereas Biden amassed $365 million during the same period, indicating the Trump campaign might be losing its cash advantage during the final phase of the election.
How Was the Money Spent?
Super Bowl and TV Ads
From early 2020 until the RNC, the campaign put over $100 million towards TV advertisements. A whopping $11 million went to two Super Bowl ads, totaling more money than what has been spent on ads in some battleground states.
The campaign has also spent more than $1 million on ads in the D.C. area, apparently to boost Trump’s own ego, as the nation’s capital has not voted for a Republican in over 50 years.
The aggressive early spending might have forced the campaign to pull most TV advertisements in late August, an unusual practice considering the short window left before elections and early voting starting in September. The decision is said to reserve $200 million for TV ads from Labor Day until election day.
Operational Expenses and Safety
About $350 million went to fundraising operations, such as assembling and housing paid staff, hiring Trump's former bodyguard's firm for security, and paying $110,000 for magnetic pouches to prevent donors from secretly recording and leaking Trump remarks.
Former Campaign Manager
In July, Trump replaced his longtime campaign manager Brad Pascale, who had unusual expenses of his own, including $325,000 to boost his own social media presence to deliver pro-Trump ads.
Trump's Legal Bills
The President spent nearly $60 million of his campaign money on legal bills related to investigations by House Democrats and Special Counsel Robert Mueller, as well as to pay for the defense of his aides' legal inquiries.
Trump Organization and Businesses
Since 2019, Trump’s businesses received about $4 million from the reelection campaign as payment for donor retreats in their hotels and properties. In addition, a Federal Election Commission complaint argues the reelection campaign disguised over $170 million in payments to companies linked to the Trump family and his campaign officials.