A loan, a payment, a trail

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The Trump International Hotel & Tower owned by President-elect Donald Trump is seen in Las Vegas Photo by Steve Jurvetson/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

The New York Times has continued its series based on nearly two decades of President Trump’s tax records. Late last week, the New York Times traced a $20 million payment that one of Trump’s companies received in 2016 from his joint hotel venture with Las Vegas casino magnate Phil Ruffin. Shortly before that payment, the hotel borrowed $30 million — and most of that loan was personally guaranteed by Ruffin. Shortly after that, Trump contributed an additional $10 million to his campaign, which, as you might remember was “self-funded” and also short on cash.

There are three really big issues with what this appears to illustrate, says Brendan Fischer, who joins Josh Barro and Ken White on this episode. First: Trump never disclosed that $30 million loan. Second: if that loan was for campaign purposes, the Federal Election Commission considers personal guarantees of loans to be election contributions, so that would mean Phil Ruffin made a $30 million contribution to the Trump campaign...which is way, way, WAY more than the $2,800 contribution limit. Third: it appears the Trump-controlled company that accepted this payment took a tax deduction for the $21 million that it transferred to Trump, which could mean that taxpayers helped subsidize Trump’s campaign in 2016.

Plus: Bill Barr says more indictments from the Durham investigation are unlikely before the election and President Trump is really not happy about that, Trump asks the Supreme Court for an emergency stay in the Vance case, strike one for the emoluments cases, and more.

Credits

Guest:
Brendan Fischer - Director of Federal Reform Program, Campaign Legal Center - @brendan_fischer

Hosts:
Josh Barro, Ken White

Producer:
Sara Fay