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Jets, car seats and a lot of BBQ: What else we found in the 2024 finance reports

Beyond the top-line spending on ads and staff salaries, campaigns' finances included their food preferences and some pricey travel choices.
Former Vice President Mike Pence rides a Harley Davidson
Former Vice President Mike Pence rides a Harley Davidson motorcycle during Joni Ernst's "Roast and Ride" event on June 3 in Des Moines, Iowa. The annual event raises money for veterans charities and highlights Republican candidates and platforms.Scott Olson / Getty Images

This month's second-quarter campaign finance deadline uncovered a lot of details about the health of political campaigns across the country — how much money they have, how they're spending it and what they're getting for their cash.

But the thousands of pages of filings also include a myriad of other storylines, shedding some light on the 2024 presidential candidates' spending preferences, their travel habits and even what they and their staff like to eat.

Here's a look at some of the other details in the presidential campaigns' second-quarter fundraising reports that caught our eye:

A collector's item?

It's no surprise travel was former Vice President Mike Pence's top expenditure category running for president means a lot of travel. But his top expense stood out.

More than a third of the $74,000 his campaign spent in total last quarter was in one payment to Mecum Auctions, which specializes in collector cars and motorcycles.

It's unclear exactly what Pence's campaign got for the money — the expense's description simply says "travel," and when asked to clarify what exactly the expense was on, a Pence spokesman replied: "Travel."

Pricey travel

One warning sign for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was how much he was spending, considering how much of his second-quarter fundraising haul came from donors who have already given him the legal maximum and can't donate again.

That made the DeSantis campaign's significant spending on private jets stand out. The campaign spent around $175,000 on aviation companies during his first six weeks as a candidate.

Also worth noting: Almost $500,000 of expenditures listed as travel went to a group called "N2024D LLC," a group that shares an address with a number of political groups and is affiliated with a prominent campaign compliance firm. It's unclear from the filings exactly what the money was spent on.

A self-funder not afraid of finding a deal

Tech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy sticks out in the race as one of the candidates who is spending millions of his own personal wealth on his bid (more than $15 million so far).

But that doesn't necessarily mean he's allergic to finding a deal.

A scan of his second-quarter disbursements includes a handful of companies that appeal to the discount-friendly crowd — more than $500 for office furnishings and supplies at TJ Maxx, more than $1,600 to HotelTonight and $300 on Frontier Airlines.

A parent hits the trail

Ramaswamy's report also includes about $900 to a Massachusetts-area store specializing in baby gear.

Ramaswamy isn't just the youngest major candidate in the field; he's also a parent of two young children. Campaign spokesperson Tricia McLaughlin told NBC News the payment was made to outfit the campaign bus with car seats so his children can join him on the road.

RFK gets check from Eric Clapton, but has to give it back

Democrat Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s campaign appears to have received some financial support from legendary guitarist Eric Clapton.

His filing shows a $5,000 check from an Englishman named Clapton, who lists himself as a "self employed ... musician."

But it's illegal to accept donations from foreign nationals, and Kennedy's campaign notes in its filing that it will be refunding the donation in the subsequent quarter.

Taking sides in the BBQ wars

As one of two campaigns based out of South Carolina, Republican Sen. Tim Scott's team has a clear barbecue preference: Hometeam BBQ, on which it spent about $1,400 last quarter.

South Carolina is serious about its barbecue, especially in its war with its neighbor to the north (the debate over mustard- or vinegar- or ketchup-based barbecue sauce is a legendary source of conflict in the region). And while there's no shortage of good barbecue in Charleston, Hometeam regularly wins praise among locals and reviewers.

That's not to say the campaign doesn't have a taste for the finer things, too: It also spent about $4,500 at the Capital Grille steakhouse chain.