Trump's campaign spent 7 times more than Obama did at the same point in his last election cycle — and nearly half of it is going toward one thing

Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty ImagesDonald Trump.
  • President Donald Trump’s July quarterly Federal Election Commission filing, posted earlier this week, showed that the president’s campaign has now spent approximately $US7 million over the first six months of 2018.
  • It’s a noticeable increase from the roughly $US1 million that former President Barack Obama’s campaign spent during the first six months of 2010.
  • About $US3 million of the Trump campaign’s expenses have gone toward digital consulting and online advertising.

Throughout the first half of 2018, President Donald Trump’s campaign is spending roughly seven times as much as former President Barack Obama’s was during the same time in his last election cycle, Federal Election Commission filings showed.

Trump’s July quarterly FEC filing, posted earlier this week, showed that the president’s campaign has now spent approximately $US7 million over the first six months of 2018 – a noticeable increase from the roughly $US1 million that the Obama campaign spent during the first six months of 2010.

Much of this can be attributed to the Trump campaign having ramped up its campaign operation from the very onset of Trump taking office, an unprecedented move. In 2018, the president’s campaign spent more than $US600,000 on costs directly related to campaign events it has put on, in addition to another $US330,000 in travel expenses, FEC filings showed.

The Trump campaign also spent more than $US1 million on lawyers in the first half of the year. Jones Day, Larocca Hornik Rosen Greenberg & Blaha LLP, and Harder LLP were the law firms receiving most of those fees.

For Obama, whose campaign was much less active during this time in 2010, nearly half of his expenses were fees paid to the Perkins Cole law firm, April and July quarterly filings from that year showed.

For Trump, the largest chunk of campaign cash went toward digital advertising. The Trump campaign paid Parscale Strategy more than $US2.8 million in the first half of 2018 for the purpose of “digital consulting and online advertising,” according to filings. The firm is run by Brad Parscale, who was named Trump’s campaign manager in February and was the force behind the campaign’s digital presence in 2016.

An additional $US65,000 was paid to American Made Media Consultants, an ad and media buying committee created in April, for the purpose of digital consulting. The Washington Examiner reported that group was created after a push from Parscale for more “transparency” over the Trump campaign’s ad buys.

“I recognise that in becoming campaign manager, my role has changed,” Parscale told The Examiner. “I want to make sure that I am running the most transparent campaign possible.”

Just this week, researchers from New York University found that Trump was the single largest political advertiser on Facebook when combining the ads from his campaign and political action committee. In May, the campaign spent $US83,700 on Facebook ads, which in turn provided them with 11,263,000 impressions, the researchers found.

Facebook, under pressure from lawmakers and activists to be more transparent about the ads that run on the platform, began in May a publicly searchable archive of political ads that identifies which groups or individuals paid for them.

The Trump campaign, which raised more than $US8 million in the last quarter and now has more than $US33 million in cash on hand, did not respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.

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