Trump got ‘unusual’ payments from Vegas hotel in 2016, NYT says

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Donald Trump received $21 million in “highly unusual” payments from a Nevada hotel in 2016 as his presidential campaign was struggling for cash, the New York Times reported.

Tax records recently obtained by the newspaper show a series of transactions that flowed to the president from a hotel he owns in Las Vegas with casino mogul Phil Ruffin, at a time his campaign had as little as $1.3 million in the bank, according to the report published on Friday. The Times said experts characterized the payments as unusual.

The documents don’t show if the money ultimately went to the campaign, but the payments could violate tax or campaign finance laws, the newspaper said.

U.S. President Donald Trump wears a protective mask while walking to the South Lawn of the White House before boarding Marine One in Washington, D.C.

The finding is the latest published by the New York Times based on more than two decades of Trump’s tax data. The Times reported Sept. 27 that Trump has aggressively used tax deductions to offset income and paid only $750 in federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017.

“This is yet another politically-motivated hit piece inaccurately smearing a standard business deal,” White House spokesman Judd Deere said in a statement responding to the Times article. “During his years as a successful businessman, Donald Trump was long-time partners with Phil Ruffin and earned whatever payments he received.”

The Trump Organization and the Trump campaign didn’t immediately respond to requests to comment.

The New York Times said the bulk of the $21 million went through a company called Trump Las Vegas Sales and Marketing that had no employees or clear business purpose. Trump contributed $10 million to his campaign in the final weeks of the 2016 campaign, which has raised questions about where the candidate, who’d been tight on cash, got the money, the newspaper said.

Trump‘s re-election effort ended August with $325 million, about $141 million less than Joe Biden and the Democratic National Committee had. Neither campaign has released figures on their September financial position, but Biden topped the record $364.5 million his campaign raised in August.

Biden started September with a $466 million mountain of cash to take on Trump, completely reversing the Republican’s financial advantage in just four months. In April, Biden had about $98 million in the bank compared to $255 million for the incumbent.

--With assistance from Justin Sink, Mario Parker and Bill Allison

Bloomberg News
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