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Where is Donald Trump’s campaign money going? To Donald Trump.

Donald Trump Holds Campaign Rally In Phoenix, Arizona Ralph Freso/Getty Images
Libby Nelson is Vox's policy editor, leading coverage of how government action and inaction shape American life. Libby has more than a decade of policy journalism experience, including at Inside Higher Ed and Politico. She joined Vox in 2014.

Donald Trump loves to brag about his wealth. But as he heads into the general election in November, his campaign’s bank account is almost empty (for a presidential candidate) — he has just $1.3 million on hand, nearly 40 times less than presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

And a lot of the money the Trump campaign has spent is going directly back to Donald Trump. In May, according to Federal Election Commission filings, Trump spent about $1 million of his campaign’s funds on products and services from business he owns, including:

  • $423,372 to rent out Mar-a-Lago, his Palm Beach club
  • $349,540 to Tag Air, his fleet of private jets
  • $29,715 to rent out the Trump International Golf Club
  • $35,845 to rent out the Trump National Golf Club
  • $72,800 in rent on Trump Tower

Earlier this year, the Trump campaign spent thousands to stay at Trump hotels, eat at Trump restaurants, and serve Trump bottled water at their events. The Associated Press calculated that, in all, $6 million of Trump campaign money has gone back to the Trump Organization.

Campaigns are required to pay the fair market value for the goods and services they purchase, even if they’re paying a company owned by the candidate. (Otherwise, Trump’s companies could give him a big advantage by allowing him to use facilities for free, while Clinton, who is not a real estate magnate, has to pay for venues where she holds her events.) Trump, naturally, wants to host events at properties he owns.

Since Trump’s campaign funds still mostly come from a loan from the candidate himself, a lot of this spending is just passing Trump’s money around. But as the campaign goes on and Trump seeks out more donations, some of the money from his supporters will end up flowing right back to him.