US Taxpayers Funding Trump Political Comeback Machine
Twice-impeached former president Donald Trump is using U.S. taxpayer dollars to fund his political comeback machine, paying several aides hefty six-figure salaries. Dan Scavino, who headed up Trump’s White House communications office and now performs the same function post-presidency, and adviser Stephen Miller are among those benefitting from the largesse.
Trump’s spending is detailed in FOIA records, which the Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington (CREW) shared with CNN.
The Presidential Transition Act provides a lump sum to outgoing presidents and their vice presidents that is managed by the General Services Administration and lasts from the first day of their retirement from office, or January 21, through the six-month period after they leave office. In Trump’s case that stipend is $2.6 million. The cash is distributed in a lump sum and is managed by the General Services Administration.
Most former presidents have used the money for office space, staff salaries and benefits, postage, printing and other office expenses. George H.W. Bush, for example, had “one little old lady who answered phones and responded to letters from the Boy Scouts,” according to a former U.S. official who previously was involved in transition planning. “Because Trump is working out of a property he owns, he’s likely been able to keep office space costs down and employ a larger team.”
Trump spent the first months of his retirement at his Mar-a-Lago resort before relocating earlier this month to his Bedminister, N.J. golf club for the summer.
Once the six month period ends, the Former Presidents Act provides for continued funding of offices, some travel expenses and mailing services and annual total staff compensation of no more than $150,000 for an additional 30 months. That amount decreases to a maximum of $96,000 annually thereafter.