Donald Trump Loves His Staffers So Much He (Illegally) Pays Them Double! NICE!
Word on the street -- and by "street" we mean CNBC -- is that something is not quite right with Donald Trump's FEC filings, as it pertains to what he is doing with the money he has gotten from donors. CNBC spoke to a number of experts about these "anomalies" and according to them, either the Trump campaign has no idea what the hell they are doing (UNPOSSIBLE) or is doing some shady shit on purpose. It is hard to choose with that one.
These "red flags," as one expert deemed them, include a total lack of disclosure on which vendors staffers for the presumptive Republican nominee are paying, an "unusual" six-figure payout to campaign staff for nontaxable expenses and what appeared to be double reimbursements for some employees' expenses.
How very strange! But what does the Trump campaign have to say about this?
When asked about the apparently unusual filing practices, Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks said in an email that "the report speaks for itself."
Oh! Well then! They probably did unusual filing practices on purpose!
What the report appears to be saying is that a lot of Trump staffers, when getting refunded for things like car mileage and office supplies and other campaign related things, didn't say "Hey! Here is proof that I drove the amount I said I did, and bought the amount of gas I said I did" when asking for their money back. They were just like "Oh yeah, I drove 4,000 miles, give me some money please." Also, when they're working with vendors, instead of saying "I spent $400 with this vendor called "Bob's Tiny Flags N Things," here is my receipt, please give me my money back Donald!" they were just like "And I spent $400 at a place, so give me my money back for that." Which is not really the way you are supposed to do things!
Also, it seems as though -- for some reason -- many staffers were being reimbursed twice -- one time for costs, and one time for a campaign contribution refund, which is what you get when you're a donor and you've gone over your campaign contribution limit. Between February and June, the campaign paid out $23,315 to staffers in this way, and according to CNBC's expert, former Federal Election Commission general counsel Larry Noble, that "does not make sense."
The mileage thing is also pretty sketchy:
One example is the disbursement to one Heather Fox, whose name matches a Mississippi Trump field operative, but whose address is given as the campaign's New York headquarters. She received a single payment of $4,269.45 (nontaxable) from the campaign on May 19, 2016. Because there were no logs attached to the report, CNBC was unable to determine the amount of miles Fox drove and the period in which she traveled that distance.
Since the IRS currently pays 54 cents a mile, the filing implies that she traveled more than 8,000 miles — what would be a lot of driving for a state operative. "That payment doesn't appear to make sense," Noble concluded.
Of course, it's entirely likely that either these experts or the FEC are wrong. Because, as The Donald has said -- he has the best people. And they know all the things, and they probably know better than these experts. And if they say that no one has to actually provide any proof of anything if they don't wanna, then maybe they don't. After all, Donald Trump is a unique candidate and we cannot expect him to play by the same rules as everyone else, or know how many articles there are in the constitution.
Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse