A quarter of Trump's $107 million inauguration budget went to a friend of Melania

Melania Trump at the inauguration
(Image credit: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)

For those of you wondering how President Trump's Presidential Inaugural Committee spent the record $107 million it raised from individual and corporate donors — as some government watchdog groups were — the answer arrived in a tax document the nonprofit committee filed Thursday. And the biggest chunk, $26 million, went to a California company set up in December 2016 by Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a New York event planner who is longtime friends with, and now a White House adviser to, first lady Melania Trump.

Wolkoff's firm, WIS Media Partners, distributed $24 million of that money to subcontractors and vendors providing entertainment, staffing, and other services for inaugural events, keeping $1.62 million for consulting and executive production, The Washington Post reports. Committee officials tell The New York Times she used some of her retainer to pay other inaugural workers. Wolkoff, who is best known as an event planner for fashion editor Anna Wintour and the Met Gala, now volunteers as a "a special government employee" in Melania Trump's office, carrying out "specified duties as outlined in her contract," according to Trump spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham.

Another $25 million went to event production company Hargrove Inc., $3.7 million went to New York event planner David Monn, and the committee spent $9.4 million on travel, $4.6 million on salaries and benefits — including $100,000 to now-indicted Trump campaign aide Rick Gates — $500,000 on legal fees, and $237,000 on fundraising. The committee also donated $5 million to charity, including a previously disclosed $1 million each to the American Red Cross, Samaritan's Purse, and Salvation Army — all of which helped with the response to last fall's hurricanes — plus another $1 million to the White House Historical Society, $750,000 to a fund to maintain the vice president's residence, and $250,000 to the Smithsonian Institution. The remaining $2.8 million will also go to charity, the committee said, outstanding expenses permitting.

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