Soon after the Republican National Committee came under pressure for paying legal bills for President Donald Trump and his eldest son in the special counsel’s Russia probe, it started covering expenses for the president’s re-election campaign.
The RNC is using campaign funds to pay Trump’s company more than $37,000 a month in rent, and to pay thousands of dollars in monthly salary to Vice President Mike Pence’s nephew, John Pence, party officials confirmed this week. The rent pays for office space in the Trump Tower in New York for the staff of Trump’s re-election campaign. John Pence is the Trump campaign’s deputy executive director.
Campaign finance experts who spoke to CNBC said this type of spending by a party committee on behalf of a campaign is highly unusual but legal, and it appears the RNC disclosed it correctly. “This is permissible and it’s being reported properly, but why they are doing it is a mystery,” said Brendan Fischer, senior counsel for the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center. “One would think the RNC could be spending their money more effectively right now on the 2018 campaign, rather than spending it to pay Trump’s rent.”