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Forgiving Campaign Loans, Trump Fulfills His Pledge to Self-Fund Primary

Trump finalized his self-funding, which he has touted since he began running for president, in a new filing with the Federal Election Commission.
Image: Donald Trump Gives Speech On Presidential Election In New York
Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during an event at Trump SoHo Hotel, June 22, 2016 in New York City. Trump's remarks focused on criticisms of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.Drew Angerer / Getty Images

Donald Trump forgave all of the personal loans he made to his presidential campaign on Wednesday, formally confirming for the first time that he did actually self-fund his primary effort.

Trump finalized his self-funding, which he has touted since he began running for president, in a new filing with the Federal Election Commission.

Trump previously said he would forgive the loans, but his campaign continued to structure his spending as loans, leaving open a legal door for him to be personally reimbursed for his spending with new donations. (Other candidates have used campaign loans for that purpose.)

In May, Trump told MSNBC he had "absolutely no intention" of paying himself back, but the campaign did not forgive the loans in its June FEC filing, or release proof of any change.

Trump’s new filing converts the loans to donations, and shuts the door on Trump using future donations to reimburse himself.

It also sheds light on Trump’s total spending to date, showing he spent a total of $50 million of his own money on the campaign, including $2 million of new personal spending in June, structured as a contribution.

Related: After Saying He Forgave Loans to Campaign, Trump Won't Release Proof

The filing also comes amid Trump’s victory lap at the convention in Cleveland.

"As Donald Trump is on the precipice of accepting the Republican nomination, as previously announced, this filing shows he converted all his loans into donations to the campaign," said Bradley Crate, the Treasurer of Trump Victory, the campaign’s fundraising committee.

"He has shown great low-dollar fundraising prowess since becoming the presumptive nominee," Crate told MSNBC noting that the filing also shows $20 million raised from small donors.

Trump’s total spending of $50 million also aligns with his recent stock sales.

The businessman sold $50 million in securities over the past year, according to a new tabulation by Bloomberg, which found his total “liquid assets shrunk to about $170 million.”

According to the Bloomberg count, Trump’s campaign spending comprises a significant portion of his liquid assets — cash or assets that can be sold quickly — suggesting a willingness to spend real money on the primary, even for a billionaire. For his part, Trump insists his fortune exceeds $10 billion, while Bloomberg pegged it at $3 billion.

Whatever Trump’s exact total wealth, his campaign spending firmly places him among some of the biggest spending candidates in presidential politics.

Without adjusting for inflation, the top self-funding presidential candidates include Gov. Mitt Romney, who spent $45 million in 2008; businessman Steve Forbes, who spent $37 million in 1996; and Ross Perot, a billionaire who plowed $63 million of his own wealth into a third party bid in 1992.

Unlike those White House aspirants, however, Trump successfully combined financial independence — funding the majority of his primary campaign — with a political message that secured a major party’s nomination.