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Trump spent nearly $1 million on swag: You should see what his properties got

Clinton and Trump in race for campaign cash and swing voters

Donald Trump's presidential campaign did not spend much in May. But a good chunk of what it did spend went to the Trump family and entities owned by Trump himself.

The presumptive Republican nominee's campaign committee received only $5.6 million in May, including another loan from Trump, according to a Federal Election Commission filing. It reported disbursements of $6.7 million, ending the month with only $1.3 million on hand.

In a Tuesday morning statement, the Trump camp explained that low figure as the consequence of only really beginning its fundraising efforts at the end of May, and actually described its results thus far as "incredible."

Importantly, Trump does not spend as heavily as candidates typically do, aided by a heavy dose of free media coverage. A significant portion of the campaign's May disbursements, though, went to Trump properties.

About 20 percent of May spending went to Trump companies or reimbursements for his children. That includes a roughly $423,000 payment to the Trump Organization's Mar-a-Lago club.

Trump himself was listed on the campaign's payroll, and it listed more than $30,000 in payments to him. Democrat Hillary Clinton's campaign listed more than $100,000 in "payroll and benefits" expenditures to her in May.

It is unclear if those expenditures go directly to the candidates or filter down to other campaign officials.

Jared Kushner (L) looks on as his wife Ivanka Trump smiles at her father Republican presidential front runner Donald Trump during his speech to supporters and the media at Trump Tower in Manhattan following his victory in the Indiana primary on May 03, 2016 in New York, New York.
Corbis | Getty Images

Trump's campaign also spent a solid portion of its May haul on "collateral," like T-shirts, hats, mugs and signs. It spent more than $900,000 on those categories, more than 13 percent of its total spending.

"Trump's failure to develop an effective fundraising operation has his campaign at this point without the resources to scale up its staffing, build a field organization, or begin advertising in crucial states," said Anthony Corrado, a professor of government at Colby College and campaign finance expert. "His campaign spending is largely devoted to the costs of personal paraphernalia, such as hats and mugs, which can be sold or distributed by the campaign as a means of raising small sums of money."

Typically most campaigns will go out of their way to avoid mingling funds. But Trump has defied convention over and over. "Starting with announcing his candidacy in the lobby of one of his buildings, Trump's campaign has heavily relied upon Trump's business resources, including by utilizing Trump employees, office space and airplanes." said Lawrence Noble, general counsel of The Campaign Legal Center, "While his campaign's FEC reports show that the campaign is paying for the use of Trump resources, it is impossible to tell at this point whether they are carefully following the campaign finance rules."

Noble, who served as general counsel of the Federal Election Commission for 13 years said the difficulty in intermingling a campaign with a candidate's business without raising legal issues is one of the reasons why most presidential candidate's attempt to separate themselves from their business interests when running. "Trump has clearly gone in the opposite direction."

The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but touted the candidate's use of his own assets in a statement.

"If need be, there could be unlimited 'cash on hand' as I would put up my own money, as I have already done through the primaries, spending over $50 million dollars. Our campaign is leaner and more efficient, like our government should be," Trump said in the release.

Technically, Trump has only lent his campaign money, meaning that his self-funding could ultimately cost him little.

Of course, Trump's FEC filing prompted a response from Hillary Clinton.

— CNBC's Lori Ann LaRocco and Everett Rosenfeld contributed to this report.

UPDATED: This story was updated to include comments from Lawrence Noble. In addition, it was updated to include that it was unclear if the payments listed to Trump and Clinton went to the candidates themselves.