Skip to content

#tbt: Donald Trump Spreads Political Donations

This photo of Trump ran with the K Street Files column in the July 12, 2004, issue of Roll Call. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)
This photo of Trump ran with the K Street Files column in the July 12, 2004, issue of Roll Call. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

What are archives for? In the spirit of Throwback Thursday, Roll Call took a closer look at The Donald’s political donations in a K Street Files column, published just a few months after the launch of Donald Trump’s NBC reality series, “The Apprentice.”  

As the real estate magnate and former United States Football League franchise owner runs for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, here is a glance back at all the money he had spread around to both parties by mid-2004, including cash to some current rivals for the GOP nod and with a little more than half of the money going to Democrats. Trump’s Money
By Kara Rowland and Brody Mullins, July 12, 2004 Casinos and resorts aren’t the only investments real estate mogul Donald Trump is making these days.  

Reality television’s newest icon, along with the companies he controls, have contributed nearly half a million dollars to state legislators and political parties since 1990, according to data compiled by the Institute on Money in State Politics.  

The report found that Trump had personally given $287,000 in political donations. Another $199,000 was contributed on behalf of Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts since 1998.  

Though Trump has always been a player in the political money game, most of his campaign checks have been written in the past two election cycles.  

Overall, Trump has made donations to both Democrats and Republicans in Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada and Pennsylvania. But the majority of his giving was made to political entities in New York, where the bulk of Trump’s properties are located.  

In New York, the billionaire developer contributed $43,500 to the campaign of Gov. George Pataki (R) and $11,000 to Attorney General Eliot Spitzer (D) in 2002.  

Other personal donations included: $500 to Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R); $5,000 to Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D); $27,000 to Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D); and $100 to New York state Assemblyman Adam Clayton Powell IV (D).  

Democratic candidates received slightly more than half (53 percent) of Trump’s money. About two-thirds of the money Trump funneled to political parties went to those associated with Democrats.  

For example, Trump’s largest-ever donation — a $100,000 check — was given by Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts to the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee of New York in 1998.  

Trump also is an active contributor to Members of Congress. So far in the 2003-04 election cycle, Trump has given nearly $30,000 of his own money, according to the nonpartisan PoliticalMoneyLine.  

Most of his money goes to Republican and Democratic lawmakers in New York and New Jersey, including Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.), Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.) and Vito Fossella (R-N.Y.).  

Not one to take risks, the casino owner has carefully hedged his bet on the presidential race. A week after sending a $2,000 contribution to the re-election campaign of President Bush, Trump sent an equal-sized check to Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.).


Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.

Recent Stories

Flag fracas: Republicans ‘infuriated’ by show of support for Ukraine  

Justice Department settles claims on USA Gymnastics investigation

Senate looks to clear aid bill Tuesday night with no amendments

‘Cruelty and chaos’: Biden hits Trump in Florida over abortion bans

Unfinished bills, tax law preparation push lobbying spending up

Capitol Lens | Social media poster