WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump’s campaign expenses more than doubled last month, even as the Republican presidential nominee held his payroll to about 70 employees, aired no television advertisements and undertook no significant operational buildout across the country.
Instead, about half of the campaign’s $18.5 million in spending was vacuumed up by Giles-Parscale, a web design and marketing firm new to national politics, Federal Election Commission filings show. It’s a crossover vendor from Trump’s real estate organization.
The campaign paid Giles-Parscale $8.4 million in July, about twice what the San Antonio firm had collected from it over the course of the preceding year. Brad Parscale, the president, is the campaign’s director of digital marketing.
Millions more went to air travel. The campaign paid about $2 million for private jets other than Trump’s own TAG Air, which also collected $500,000.
Some Trump’s consultants are also well-paid.
Chess Bedsole, the campaign’s Alabama state director, was paid $64,000 last month for field consulting. His last campaign payment was for $15,000 in December.
Yet the campaign’s payroll remained thin, and there did not appear to be much new in the way of office leases across the country, including in Ohio and other crucial states.
Trump’s ex-campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, said this month that the campaign had hired dozens more people, including expanding its team to directors in all 50 states. He said they were all on payroll as of Aug. 1, meaning they won’t show up in campaign finance reports until Sept. 20.
Trump has relied heavily on the Republican National Committee for conventional campaign infrastructure. He’s boasted of holding the line on his campaign spending. But he’s running critically low on time to build an operation that can compete with Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.