President Donald Trump was “thrilled” by the “bargain basement” prices his campaign received on office space in Virginia, but that deal could have been a violation of election law, the Washington Examiner reports.
A campaign official told the Examiner the Trump campaign “saved multiple millions of dollars” on office space in Arlington, Virginia.
“We would not normally have such sleek office space,” the unnamed official said while sitting in a boardroom facing the Washington Monument. “This was a steal. The president was thrilled. We saved multiple millions of dollars. Brad found it and the deal was struck.”
He added campaign manager Brad Parscale “found out about it and went to them and said, ‘Hey, would you do a lump sum payment cash up front for the next two years?’ They said, ‘Sold!’ We took it off their hands and sublet it from them. And it came with all the furniture. We saved millions of dollars. I think Brad said we got it for about $36 per square foot, which is bargain-basement for well-situated commercial real estate in northern Virginia.”
However, former election officials note federal law requires candidates to pay market rates on rent, otherwise it is considered an illegal campaign contribution, though there are exceptions.
“You can’t get a good deal that’s not available to anyone else, that’s a contribution,” said Bradley Smith, a Republican and the former chairman of the Federal Election Commission. “Generally, if the accused party has a reasonably plausible basis for their calculation, they are going to be fine. The FEC is not going to be eager to say the amount charged is wrong.”