Ben White digs deep into The Donald’s financial revelations:
The case against Trump’s accounting of his wealth: His businesses apparently generate a lot of revenue but may not put much cash in his pocket; he assigns himself a net worth that is impossible to verify and may be based in part on fantasy; and he is selling assets and increasing debt in ways that suggest a man scrambling for ready cash.
In response to a list of questions for this story, Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks emailed: “The report speaks for itself.” If it does, the report does not speak clearly.
The apparent increase in debt and securities sales raises questions about the amount of cash Trump has on hand.
“If he is swimming in so much cash for all his holdings, why is he selling this stuff to raise cash?” asked another ultra-high net worth individual who also reviewed the filings and declined to be identified by name to avoid Trump’s wrath.
As for his campaign, the last FEC report said he had $2.4 million in his account, and $44 million in debt. That debt, by the way, is to one Donald J. Trump, which is proof he’s not even self-funding the red-hats-and-tweeting phase of the campaign. The RNC had about $17 million on hand and $4 million in debt. They’re only about $970 million dollars short of the combined Romney/RNC/SuperPAC total for 2012.
For what it’s worth (no pun intended), I don’t care about Trump’s net worth — it’s the kind of little thing he lies about all the time, although it doesn’t seem to do him (or us) any harm. So while it might seem impossible to predict if reports like these will have any negative impact on Trump’s support, my gut tells me No. His braggadocio, the bigger the better, is a big part of his appeal and inseparable from his brand.
More interesting however is that Politico hasn’t looked into the Clinton Foundation’s shady reporting in over a year — and that wasn’t even half as long as today’s story.
If Trump doesn’t get a pass on inflating his net worth, then the Clintons’ wheeler-dealings — which would seem to involve State Department-level pay-to-play — should get just as much scrutiny, if not more.
So c’mon, Ben White — let’s see what there is to see.