US taxpayers have paid about $1.6 million for the Secret Service to fly with Trump on his private plane to and from campaign events, according to FEC documents—which is pretty normal, except for the fact that the Republican candidate owns the company operating the plane.
Politico reports that while it's customary for the government to reimburse candidates to fly Secret Service agents around the country, usually third-party companies operate those planes, such as Executive Fliteways, the independent company that flies Hillary Clinton's plane. But because TAG Air, Inc., Trump's own company, runs his jet, the government money is effectively plopping right back into Trump's bank account.
"It's just another example of how the Trump campaign has taken an unprecedentedly large amount of its money and spent it at Trump-owned facilities," Brett Kappel, a campaign finance lawyer, told Politico.
Because the candidate's businesses and properties have played an integral role in his campaign—serving as staff headquarters, flying his jet, playing host to campaign events—he's already managed to funnel $8.2 million of campaign funds back into the Trump franchise. This week the Washington Post also published revelations that Trump has even used funds from his own charity to pay for his legal fees.
The blurred line between his business ventures and his political operation have some under the impression that the Republican candidate is running an elaborate "scampaign" and making a killing doing it.
"It's very possible that I could be the first presidential candidate to run and make money on it," Trump told Fortune magazine in 2000. Now in 2016, it's very possible that's he's right.