A dog rescue charity connected to Lara Trump, daughter-in-law of former President Donald Trump, is at the center of scrutiny due to its spending at multiple Trump-owned properties over the last several years.
In fact, the charity is also set to spend more money at Trump’s exclusive Mar-a-Lago golf club this weekend. According to the HuffPost, a new permit filed in Palm Beach, Fla., indicates Big Dog Ranch Rescue is slated to spend approximately $225,000 at the luxury country club where Trump has been residing since departing Washington, D.C., on Jan. 20.
Based on previous Internal Revenue Service (IRS) filings, the animal protection organization has been shelling out millions to the former president’s luxury property since 2014. Over the last several years, it has spent a total of “$1,883,160 on fundraising costs,” according to the publication.
A timeline of Lara Trump’s affiliation with the organization has also been brought to the forefront. In 2018, she reportedly was listed as the organization’s chairwoman for charity events. Then, in 2019, the organization’s president, Lauren Simmons, traveled to Washington, D.C., where she visited the White House for the signing of a bill crafted to confront animal cruelty.
Despite the reports, which raise questions about Lara Trump’s involvement, Simmons released a statement defending her. Describing Lara Trump as a dog advocate, Simmons argued that the venue and rates were both generous.
“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,” Simmons said. “Our investment there and at the other venues mentioned in the article has netted more than $12 million over an eight-year period which allows us to continue our mission.”
When questioned about why she would support a former president who attempted a coup to invalidate the results of a presidential election, Simmons reportedly offered no response. Since the charity did briefly distance itself from Trump in 2017 amid the controversy over the civil unrest in Charlottesville, Va., the move appears to have only been temporary.
The latest reports come amid the organization’s latest event being held at Mar-a-Lago today. In fact, according to WPTV, Trump made an appearance at the event wearing his signature red “Make America Great Again” hat.
During an impromptu speech, he said, “I’m with you 100 percent. We had many meetings in the White House and the Oval Office having to do with saving and helping dogs!”
President Trump makes surprise appearance at animal rescue fundraiser. More at https://t.co/j4AOiStqCD
@bdrr https://t.co/J4yai8cAbU — T.A. Walker (@T.A. Walker)
Throughout his presidency, Trump was accused of funneling “$8.5 million of Republican donor money into his own cash registers by directing spending by the entities he controlled, including the Republican National Committee, toward his own businesses.”
The HuffPost also noted similar instances in which Trump allegedly directed several millions in taxpayer dollars to his own businesses when he frequently traveled to his own properties for golfing vacations during his time in office.