Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz (R) has been battling South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) for who will get to bronze the president’s testicles and keep them in their suit jacket pocket, closest to their heart. While no one will beat Graham’s commitment and penchant for punishment, it looks like Gaetz didn’t walk away empty-handed, as his campaign received deep discounts on rooms at the Trump International Hotel near the White House.
According to Salon, the campaign to reelect Gaetz appears to have had prices slashed on lodging during the Republican National Convention in August, and such a discount is a violation of federal election laws, which bar corporations from contributing directly to campaigns.
Recent Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings show the Gaetz campaign made four separate payments, ranging from $216.20 to $261.47, for lodging at Trump’s hotel on Aug. 27, the last of four nights of the convention when Trump gave his acceptance speech from the White House lawn.
On that evening, the price for rooms for one adult through Hotels.com began at $795 and ran as high as $2,070, The Daily Beast reported. On the three convention dates prior to Trump’s keynote address, the hotel priced its cheapest room at $695 a night. (Rates for rooms this week range from $695 to $895.)
It appears the hotel cut the Gaetz campaign a discount far below market rates. Even if the campaign had booked the cheapest room available, it appears to have paid about one-third of the market rate, saving anywhere between $470 and $530. Such a discount would represent an in-kind donation to the Gaetz campaign, courtesy of Trump Old Post Office LLC. (The FEC treats any item of value as money.)
Gaetz has been competing with Barron for Trump’s kid who gets to sleep in the White House, and like all the good IG side-pieces before him, Gaetz was seen in a photo with White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and New Jersey convention delegate Joseph Belnome—which was posted to Belnome’s IG page, showing them outside the hotel on the same day the payment to the hotel was made.
Corporate contributions or discounts to campaigns are illegal under federal election law. Salon notes that when campaigns pay reduced rates they must report the discount as a contribution.
From the Federal Election Commission:
[A]nything of value made by any person for the purpose of influencing any election for Federal office is a contribution . . .
For purposes of this section, the term anything of value includes all in-kind contributions. . . [T]he provision of any goods or services without charge or at a charge that is less than the usual and normal charge for such goods or services is a contribution . . .
If goods or services are provided at less than the usual and normal charge, the amount of the in-kind contribution is the difference between the usual and normal charge for the goods or services at the time of the contribution and the amount charged the political committee.
The Gaetz campaign did not report a discount in its latest filing, because of course, they didn’t. A source did note that Gaetz doesn’t have time for this bullshit, because he’s getting flew’d out and stays booked and busy while you bitches stay broke and bothered. (It was me. I’m the source.)
Salon even notes that there is literally no way Gaetz could’ve gotten the severely discounted price without someone else’s (read the White House’s) help. They also note that Gaetz couldn’t have made the reservation in advance as the plan to have the convention in Washington, D.C., was not announced until Aug. 13.
Even if Gaetz did book in advance, he still wouldn’t have gotten that reduced rate.
And all of this is even funnier because during a Trump campaign rally in Florida the president kept referring to Gaetz as “Rick”—which must be his work name.
“Gaetz is particularly close to Trump and has been to Trump properties more than any other Representative—tied with Kevin McCarthy,” Jordan Libowitz, of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, told Salon. “But he’s still behind Senators Lindsey Graham and Rand Paul.”
“So how he got a discount is really a question he’d need to answer,” Libowitz added, noting that standard room rates at the hotel start around the high-300s to mid- to high-400s.
**The Root reached out to Gaetz for comment and someone answered the phone and yelled, “I thought a broke bitch said something,” and hung up.
**The Root did not reach out to Gaetz for comment as we don’t have the number to his burner phone.