A dog rescue charity that has links to Lara Trump, the former president’s daughter-in-law, has spent almost $2m at Trump properties in the last seven years, according to US media reports.
While other companies and groups have distanced themselves from the Trumps since the 6 January attack on the capital, the Florida-based Big Dog Ranch Rescue is expected to spend another $225,000 at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago country club for an event this weekend, according to a permit filed with the town of Palm Beach, which was reported by HuffPost.
The former president has been living in the club full time since leaving the White House in January following his election defeat.
HuffPost reported that Internal Revenue Service (IRS) filings show that the charity has spent as much as $1,883,160 on fundraising costs for events at Mar-a-Lago and a nearby Trump golf course since 2014. Lara Trump, who is married to Eric Trump, has been a chairwoman for charity events since 2018.
Donald Trump’s Trump Foundation, which was dissolved in 2019, and Eric Trump’s Eric Trump Foundation are known to have used money from donors for events and other expenses at Trump properties. Donald Trump admitted in court documents that he used charity money to buy a portrait of himself.
Lauren Simmons, president and founder of Big Dog Ranch Rescue, is an ardent Trump supporter, and posted many comments on social media in support of the former president’s baseless “Stop the Steal” campaign to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
In a Facebook post from 4 January, two days before the deadly insurrection at the US Capital, Simmons posted an image on Facebook which said: “Either we TAKE power back, or we will never be free again”.
In a statement to HuffPo, Simmons said: “The quality of service, beauty of the venue and excellent rate provided us as a nonprofit as well as the generosity of supporters who sell-out our event there every year allows us to rescue and home thousands of dogs. Our investment there and at the other venues mentioned in the article has netted more than $12m over an eight-year period which allows us to continue our mission”.