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TAKING HIS CUT: Trump-endorsed candidates are lining his pockets by spending lavishly at Mar-a-Lago

TAKING HIS CUT: Trump-endorsed candidates are lining his pockets by spending lavishly at Mar-a-Lago

TAKING HIS CUT: Trump-endorsed candidates are lining his pockets by spending lavishly at Mar-a-Lago

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Like an all-powerful potentate demanding pecuniary tribute from his vassals, Donald Trump has figured out a way to extract riches from the Republican political candidates who flock to Mar-a-Lago seeking his benediction and his endorsement of their runs for office — despite recent evidence that such endorsement is no guarantee of success in GOP primaries, much less the general election.

An examination of federal and local campaign finance records reveals that Trump personally benefited from the coffers of seven different Republican candidates whom he endorsed in GOP primaries today and whose political campaigns spent a combined total of over $400,000 at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort.

For example, CNBC reports that:

“Georgia Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker’s campaign has spent almost $200,000 so far during the 2022 election cycle at the exclusive resort in Palm Beach, Florida: a payment of just over $135,000 in December and another of roughly $65,000 in April, according to Federal Election Commission filings.”

Walker is not the only Georgia GOP hopeful endorsed by Trump to kick back campaign dollars to his political patron.

Former Senator David Perdue — the candidate that Trump chose to endorse over incumbent Republican Governor Brian Kemp who refused to endorse the Twice-impeached ex-president’s election lies — has already spent over $20,000 at Mar-a-Lago in May, state campaign finance disclosures reveal.

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With Perdue badly trailing Kemp in opinion polls, the former Georgia Senator must be wondering if perhaps he should have upped his spending at Trump’s West Palm Beach, Florida resort to get more effective support from the supposed GOP kingmaker.

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Another Republican candidate spending lavishly at Mar-a-Lago is Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA) — who is running to replace incumbent Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, the man to whom Trump infamously asked to “find 11,780 votes” — and whose campaign spent over $38,000 in February at the resort property.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton “spent over $45,000 of his campaign funds between November and December at Mar-a-Lago, according to campaign finance records,” CNBC reports.

Other Trump-endorsed GOP hopefuls paying tribute to their benefactor through their campaign funds include former Trump White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders; Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA); and former Georgia state Rep. Vernon Jones.

“Candidates and causes across the nation are being funded by the unprecedented amount of money being raised at Trump properties. In Republican politics today, there’s only two seasons that matter: Mar-A-Lago season and Bedminster season, because it’s where candidates, organizations, and donors want to be,” Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich told CNBC.

Yes, Republicans can apparently raise beaucoups bucks at Mar-a-Lago, but only with a costly expenditure — which many people liken to a kickback to the former president – on catering and lodging services at the resort wholly-owned by their endorser.

Given that Trump’s policies would push America into a class-stratified modern-day feudal society, such a blatant patronage system should perhaps not be unexpected.  It’s a shame, however, how many Republican politicians have decided to participate in it for their own ambitions.

Follow Vinnie Longobardo on Twitter.

Original reporting by Brian Schwartz AT CNBC.

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