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Trump presidential campaign put thousands into Trump Winery

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RICHMOND, Va. – Donald Trump has directed nearly one-fifth of his campaign cash to companies that are part of his vast business empire, new federal records show.  Trump-linked businesses account for 17% of all campaign expenses to date. He’s paid almost $11 million to Trump organizations since launching his campaign a year ago.

The presidential candidate has mixed his public campaign and his private ventures for most of the 2016 race, and Virginia didn’t prove different.

Trump’s presidential campaign spent nearly $5,000 in June at the winery owned by his family, according to Federal Election Commission filings made public earlier this week.

Trump Winery, located in Charlottesville, opened in 2011 and Trump’s son, Eric, is listed as the vineyard’s president.

The Trump campaign spent more than $2,600 and $1,200 on facility rental and catering at the winery on two separate occasions in May, according to federal election documents.  Records show the Trump campaign spent nearly $1,000 for travel and lodging on one of those occasions.

“Trump Winery is a registered trade name of Eric Trump Wine Manufacturing LLC, which is not owned, managed or affiliated with Donald J. Trump, The Trump Organization or any of their affiliates,” states a disclaimer on the winery’s website.

There is nothing illegal about the Trump campaign spending money at businesses owned by Trump or his family members as long as the campaign pays fair market value, according to published reports.

Still, some GOP insiders have publicly voiced concern that Trump is using campaign donations to pay back himself, CNN reports.

The setup shows how unusual Trump’s campaign is — presidential candidates generally don’t own buildings or resorts in multiple states or companies that could be used as contractors.

Trump has told donors their money will be used for the campaign, not for himself.
“I have absolutely no intention of paying myself back,” Trump said in a statement last month.
Other expenses include $577,000 for payroll and rent at Trump Tower, which doubles as campaign headquarters, and $4.7 million to Ace Specialties, which supplies Trump’s online store and whose owner is Christl Mahfouz, who sits on the board of directors of Eric Trump’s foundation.
And $400 to Trump Ice LLC, which makes bottled waters.
Trump may be facing a serious cash crunch, with only $1.3 million on hand at the beginning of this month. But that’s not stopping down this Trump “spending.”
Just in May, he spent $208,000 on hats, $5,000 on signs and $694,000 on t-shirts, mugs and stickers.
Reporting from CNN Newswire contributed to this report.