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    HomePoliticsTrump Super PAC Made $155,000 Payment to Melania Trump in 2021

    Trump Super PAC Made $155,000 Payment to Melania Trump in 2021

    A super PAC aligned with former President Donald J. Trump paid Melania Trump $155,000 in late 2021, an unusual payment that was not visible in the group’s initial federal reports and came to light only in a filing by Mr. Trump on Thursday.

    The money was listed as pay for a “speaking engagement” by Ms. Trump in the new filing, a personal financial disclosure by Mr. Trump. The $155,000 payment was made in December 2021 by Make America Great Again, Again, which at the time was Mr. Trump’s leading super PAC.

    Ms. Trump’s name, however, did not appear on the super PAC’s list of expenditures, which were made public last year.

    Instead, the super PAC’s report showed two payments, for $125,000 and $30,000, to “Designer’s Management Agency,” which lists Ms. Trump as a client on its website. The payments were made on Dec. 2 and Dec. 3, 2021; in the new disclosure, Mr. Trump reported that Ms. Trump was paid $155,000 on Dec. 2, 2021.

    In the super PAC’s filing, those two payments were labeled “event planning and consulting,” according to Federal Election Commission records. Federal rules are generally lax when it comes to requiring that the final destination of money be revealed. Instead, committees must disclose only the first vendor paid.

    It is rare for the spouse of a potential presidential candidate to be paid directly by a campaign or an outside group affiliated with the candidate.

    The super PAC has since folded and in late 2022 transferred $8.9 million to a new, similarly named pro-Trump super PAC, Make America Great Again Inc.

    Charles Gantt, who served as treasurer of the old super PAC, said that it had “complied with all applicable reporting obligations.”

    A representative for the new group, who declined to be identified by name, said that Ms. Trump had been hired through her agency for “design consulting” for the old super PAC’s dinner and that her responsibilities included choosing tableware, arranging settings and picking floral arrangements. The fee was $125,000, and the second $30,000 payment was for additional services rendered out of the scope of the first contract, the representative said.

    The super PAC representative said the group did not know what share of the money Ms. Trump would receive from the agency.

    Mr. Trump’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and a representative for Ms. Trump did not immediately respond to an email. Pam Bondi, who served at the time as the chair of Make America Great Again, Again, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    The December 2021 payment to Ms. Trump coincided with a private fund-raising dinner that the super PAC held at Mar-a-Lago and that Mr. Trump attended. Seats at the dinner were sold for $125,000 each and $250,000 for a couple.

    Trump-aligned groups and candidates have repeatedly held events at his private club in Florida. The Make America Great Again, Again super PAC spent more than $350,000 at Mar-a-Lago in 2021 and 2022.

    The payments to Ms. Trump were not included in the first financial disclosure form covering Mr. Trump’s 2024 candidacy that he filed this spring, but they were among several payments for speaking engagements by Ms. Trump in 2021 and 2022 that were newly added, along with other revisions.

    Among the other speaking fees that Ms. Trump reported receiving were a $250,000 payment from Log Cabin Republicans in December 2022 and a $250,000 payment the next day from Fix California, a group founded by Richard Grenell, a former senior Trump administration official and a close ally of the president.

    This is not the first time a political committee connected to Mr. Trump has made a payment related to his wife. Ms. Trump’s stylist was paid $132,000 in 2022 by Save America, a political action committee that became the vehicle to park tens of millions of dollars raised by Mr. Trump in the weeks after the 2020 election. As he made false claims of widespread election fraud, he received small-dollar contributions from supporters who wanted to help him fight to stay in office.

    Save America paid for some of Mr. Trump’s political activities after he left office, and the group has donated some money to help other candidates. But a significant chunk of that money has gone toward legal fees for Mr. Trump and some witnesses in cases against him.

    The PAC began the year with $18 million, and the amount of donor money going to it through a joint fund-raising committee with the campaign recently increased tenfold, The New York Times reported.

    The financial disclosure filing also provides new details about Mr. Trump’s sources of income and his considerable wealth.

    For instance, he made more than $12 million in speaking fees, including for an appearance at an event in Florida on the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the filing shows.

    Ms. Trump received $250,000 in licensing fees from Winning Team Publishing, an entity co-founded by Mr. Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., that has an arrangement with the former president and has published two books connected to him.



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