A super PAC aligned with former President Donald J. Trump paid Melania Trump $155,000 in late 2021, an unusual payment that wasn’t visible in the group’s initial federal reports and only came to light in a new Trump filing Thursday.
The money was listed as payment for an « oral commitment » by Ms. Trump to the new filing, a personal financial disclosure by Mr. Trump. The $155,000 payment was made in December 2021 by Make America Great Again, Again, who was Trump’s top super PAC at the time.
Ms. Trump’s name, however, did not appear on the super PAC spending list, which was made public last year.
Instead, the super PAC report showed two payments, for $125,000 and $30,000, to the « Designer’s Management Agency, » which lists Ms. Trump as a client, according to its website. Payments were made on December 2 and December 3, 2021; In the new disclosure, Mr. Trump said Ms. Trump was paid $155,000 on Dec. 2, 2021.
In the super PAC filing, those two payments were labeled « event planning and consulting, » according to Federal Election Commission records. Federal rules are generally lax when it comes to requiring that the final destination of the money be disclosed. Instead, committees only need to disclose the first paid vendor.
It is rare for a presidential candidate’s spouse to be paid directly by a campaign or an outside group affiliated with the candidate.
Mr. Trump’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and a representative for Ms. Trump did not immediately respond to an email. Pam Bondi, who was president of Make America Great Again, Again at the time, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
That super PAC has since folded and in late 2022 transferred $8.9 million to a new, similarly named pro-Trump super PAC, Make America Great Again Inc.
The December 2021 payment to Ms. Trump coincided with a private fundraising dinner that super PAC held in Mar-a-Lago and which Mr. Trump attended. Seats at the dinner sold for $125,000 each and $250,000 for a couple.
Trump-aligned groups and candidates have repeatedly held events at his private club in Florida. Super PAC Make America Great Again, Again spent more than $350,000 at Mar-a-Lago in 2021 and 2022.
The payments to Ms. Trump were not included in the first financial disclosure form related to Mr. Trump’s 2024 candidacy that she filed this spring, but they were among several payments for Ms. Trump’s 2021 and 2022 speaking engagements that are recently added, along with other revisions.
Among other speaking expenses Ms. Trump reportedly received were a $250,000 payment from Log Cabin Republicans in December 2022 and a $250,000 payment the next day from Fix California, a group founded by Richard Grenell. a former senior Trump administration official and a close ally of the president.
This isn’t the first time a political committee connected to Mr. Trump has made a payment related to his wife. Ms. Trump’s stylist was paid $132,000 in 2022 by Save America, a political action committee that became the vehicle to park tens of millions of dollars Mr. Trump raised in the weeks following the November 2020 election. allegations of widespread voter fraud, he received small-dollar contributions from supporters who wanted to help him fight to stay in office.
Save America paid for some of Trump’s political activities after he left office, and the group donated money to help other candidates. But a significant portion of that money has been devoted to paying legal fees for Mr. Trump and some witnesses in the cases against him.