A super PAC aligned with former President Donald J. Trump paid Melania Trump $155,000 in late 2021, an unusual payment that was not visible in the group’s initial federal filings and came to light only in a new Trump filing Thursday. .
The money was listed as payment for a “speaking engagement” from Mrs. Trump in the new filing, a personal financial disclosure by Trump. The $155,000 payment was made in December 2021 by Make America Great Again, Again, who was Mr. Trump’s lead super PAC at the time.
However, Ms Trump’s name did not appear on the super PAC spending list, which was made public last year.
Instead, the super PAC report showed two payments, for $125,000 and $30,000, to the “Designer Management Agency,” which lists Mrs. Trump as a client, according to their website. Payments were made on December 2 and 3, 2021; In the new disclosure, Mr. Trump reported that Ms. Trump was paid $155,000 on December 2, 2021.
In the super PAC filing, those two payments were labeled “event planning and consulting,” according to Federal Election Commission records. Federal rules are generally lax when it comes to requiring the final destination of the money to be disclosed. Instead, committees must disclose only the first paid provider.
It is rare for a presidential candidate’s spouse to be paid directly by a campaign or outside group affiliated with the candidate.
Mr. Trump’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and a representative for Ms. Trump did not immediately respond to an email. Pam Bondi, who was serving at the time as the president of Make America Great Again, Again, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
That super PAC has since folded and, in late 2022, transferred $8.9 million to a new, similarly named, pro-Trump super PAC, Make America Great Again Inc.
The December 2021 payment to Ms. Trump coincided with a private fundraising dinner that the super PAC hosted at Mar-a-Lago and attended by Mr. Trump. Seats at the dinner sold for $125,000 each and $250,000 per couple.
Trump-aligned groups and candidates have repeatedly held events at his private club in Florida. The Make America Great Again, Again super PAC spent more than $350,000 at Mar-a-Lago in 2021 and 2022.
The payments to Ms. Trump were not included in the first financial disclosure form covering Trump’s 2024 candidacy that he filed this spring, but they were among several payments for Ms. Trump’s 2021 and 2022 lectures that were added. recently, along with other reviews.
Among the other speaking fees Ms. Trump reported receiving were a $250,000 payment from the Log Cabin Republicans in December 2022 and a $250,000 payment the next day from Fix California, a group founded by Richard Grenell. , a former senior Trump administration official and close ally. of the president
This is not the first time that a Trump-related political committee has made a payment related to his wife. Mrs. Trump’s hairstylist received $132,000 in 2022 from Save America, a political action committee that became the vehicle for parking tens of millions of dollars raised by Trump in the weeks after the November 2020 election. While doing repeated false claims of widespread voter fraud, he received small contributions from supporters who wanted to help him fight to stay in office.
Save America paid for some of Trump’s political activities after he left office, and the group has donated some money to help other candidates. But a significant chunk of that money went to paying Trump’s legal fees and some witnesses in the cases against him.