August 12, 2020

Former Vice President Joe Biden's campaign received a huge financial boost after he named Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) as his running mate.

In the 24 hours after Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, made his announcement on Tuesday afternoon, his campaign raised $26 million, with 150,000 first-time donors chipping in. The money really came flooding in during the first hour after he broke the news — those were the best 60 minutes of fundraising his campaign has had so far, Politico reports.

Biden shared the fundraising totals during a virtual event on Wednesday evening, saying, "It's really palpable, the excitement." Prior to joining the ticket, Harris brought in more than $5 million for the Biden campaign by headlining online fundraisers. Catherine Garcia

August 11, 2020

President Trump's campaign may be calling her "Phony Kamala" now, but Trump once liked Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) enough to twice donate to her re-election campaign for California attorney general.

The Sacramento Bee first reported the donations in 2019, but they are receiving renewed interest now that former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, has chosen Harris to be his running mate.

Before she became a senator, Harris was attorney general of California; she was first elected in 2010, and was re-elected four years later. Trump made two donations to Harris' re-election campaign — $5,000 in 2011 and $1,000 in 2013. His daughter, Ivanka Trump, also gave Harris $2,000 in 2014.

A spokesperson for Harris' campaign previously told McClatchy that in 2015, Harris donated the $6,000 she received from Trump to a nonprofit organization that advocates for civil and human rights for Central Americans. Catherine Garcia

July 21, 2020

President Trump's sparsely attended rally in Tulsa last month cost his campaign more than $2.2 million, according to new federal filings submitted Monday night.

The filings show that in June, the campaign paid more than $2.2 million in event, facility, and audiovisual costs, The New York Times reports. The campaign spent $537,705.44 in facility rental payments to the BOK Center, where the rally was held, and nearly $1 million on "event staging" fees. The campaign's only major public event that month was the Tulsa rally, which drew a crowd of about 6,200 people; beforehand, Trump's former campaign manager, Brad Parscale, boasted that the campaign received one million ticket requests.

These new filings also show that since early 2019, Trump's re-election committee and his shared accounts with the Republican National Committee have spent almost $4 million at Trump-owned properties, the Times reports. One of those shared accounts, the Trump Victory Committee, spent roughly $400,000 on the Trump Hotel Collection in New York, for a donor retreat earlier this year, the Republican National Committee said.

Per federal filings, since the beginning of 2019, the biggest congressional spender at Trump properties is Rep. Greg Pence (R-Ind.), Vice President Mike Pence's brother. Trump last visited one of his properties on Monday, attending a fundraiser at his Washington, D.C., hotel that brought in $5 million for the Republican National Committee and his campaign. Catherine Garcia

May 18, 2020

A Congressional Oversight Commission report released Monday finds that the Treasury Department has barely spent any of the $500 billion fund meant to assist local governments and businesses.

Both the Congressional Oversight Commission and the Treasury fund were created by the $2 trillion CARES Act in March. The fund will help large and small businesses, as well as cities and states, and the commission was formed to oversee how that money is being used. The 17-page report released Monday is the commission's first.

The report found that so far, only one of the five lending facilities created by the Treasury Department to operate through the Federal Reserve — the Secondary Market Corporate Credit Facility, which will purchase corporate debt — has received funding. There is $46 billion set aside for the airline industry, but none of that money has been distributed, and the Main Street Lending Program, created to assist small and medium-size businesses, has already changed its criteria for participants, a move Democrats say is meant to benefit oil and gas firms, The Washington Post reports.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell will appear before the commission on Tuesday, and are expected to field questions about when the facilities will get up and running. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Penn.), a member of the commission, told the Post that if the funding "doesn't get out in a timely fashion, it's not going to achieve the goal behind its creation." Catherine Garcia

May 1, 2020

In 2017, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spent several months living in a suite at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., with the Secret Service paying more than $33,000 to rent the adjoining room in order to screen his packages and visitors, three people familiar with the matter told The Washington Post.

Billing records show the Secret Service was charged $242 per night, which at the time was the maximum rate federal agencies were typically allowed to pay for a room. The room was rented for 137 nights, and the final bill, footed by taxpayers, was $33,154. Mnuchin stayed at the hotel while looking for a home to purchase in Washington. A Treasury Department spokesperson told the Post Mnuchin paid for his suite with his own money, and was able to negotiate a discounted rate.

When asked by the Post if Mnuchin considered how much it would cost taxpayers to have the Secret Service rent a hotel room for an extended period of time, the spokesperson said, "The secretary was not aware of what the U.S. Secret Service paid for the adjoining room."

Renting a room in order to guard a Treasury secretary is standard Secret Service practice, people familiar with the matter told the Post, but during other administrations, the president didn't own the hotel that was being paid. The Trump Organization has not revealed how much federal agencies have paid to the company since Trump's 2017 inauguration, but using public records, the Post has found more than 170 payments from the Secret Service to Trump properties, for a total of more than $620,000. Many of these payments stem from the Secret Service accompanying Trump on trips to his own hotels. Read more at The Washington Post. Catherine Garcia

April 8, 2020

Former Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly's Monday trip to Guam cost him his job and taxpayers an estimated $243,000.

Modly traveled on a modified Gulfstream jet, CNN reports, with a flight time of roughly 35 hours. It costs about $6,946.19 per hour to fly the plane.

He went to Guam to speak to sailors on board the USS Theodore Roosevelt. Last week, while still commander of the aircraft carrier, Capt. Brett Crozier wrote a memo to the Navy, saying "decisive action" was needed to stop the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus on the ship. "We are not at war," he said. "Sailors do not need to die."

The memo was leaked to the San Francisco Chronicle, and Crozier was dismissed. Modly arrived in Guam a few days later, and while addressing sailors, he disparaged Crozier, calling him "stupid" and "naive." He later tried to backtrack and apologized for "any pain my remarks may have caused," but it wasn't enough, and he resigned on Tuesday. Catherine Garcia

April 6, 2020

During a private conference call with Democrats on Monday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said at least $1 trillion will be needed for the next coronavirus relief package.

Last month, Congress passed a $2.2 trillion stimulus package, and Pelosi said the next bill will build onto that, people on the call told Bloomberg News. Pelosi said there will have to be more direct payments to individuals, extended unemployment insurance, and additional funding for food stamps and the Payroll Protection Plan, which provides small business loans.

One lawmaker told Bloomberg News Pelosi also said the bill should help state and local governments, particularly in areas with no more than 500,000 residents. While the House isn't scheduled to be back in session until April 20 at the earliest, Pelosi said she wants the package passed this month. President Trump was asked on Monday evening about a second round of direct payments to Americans, and he said it is "absolutely under consideration." Catherine Garcia

March 5, 2020

Newly released receipts and billing documents show that taxpayers paid for an additional $157,000 in charges stemming from the Secret Service staying at President Trump's properties, The Washington Post reports.

Since his inauguration, President Trump has spent 355 days visiting his own properties, the Post estimates. Trump's son, Eric Trump, has said agents "stay at our properties for free — meaning, like, cost for housekeeping," later adding, "we charge them, like, 50 bucks." The new receipts obtained by the watchdog group Public Citizen show that in 2017, 2018, and 2019, the Secret Service was charged for 177 additional nightly room rentals at Trump's Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, at a cost of $396.15 per night, per room.

During the summer of 2018 and part of the summer of 2019, The Secret Service was also charged $17,000 per month to rent the Sarazen Cottage at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey. Local listings show this was an unusually high rate for homes in the area, the Post notes. The Secret Service paid the rental fee even when Trump and agents were not visiting the property.

Before these new receipts were made public, the Post estimated that Trump's company has charged the Secret Service at least $628,000 since 2017. Catherine Garcia

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