Donald Trump loaned White House campaign $10.4 million as he nears Republican nomination

US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaking at the National Rifle Association's NRA-ILA Leadership Forum on May 20, 2016.
US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaking at the National Rifle Association's NRA-ILA Leadership Forum on May 20, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Billionaire Donald Trump raised US$1.7 million (S$2.34 million) from donors and loaned his White House campaign US$7.5 million (S$10.4 million) in April as he moved closer to becoming the Republican nominee for president, according to documents filed with the United States Federal Election Commission (FEC) on Friday.

The New York businessman had loaned his campaign a total of US$43.5 million as of the end of April, the filings showed. More recently, he has made moves to build up his fundraising operation with an eye toward the Nov 8 general election.

Mr Trump became the Republican Party's presumptive nominee in early May, when both of his rivals dropped out of the race. Trump self-funded much of his primary run, but he has said he will not rely as heavily on his own money for the general election, when he will face the Democratic nominee.

Both people seeking the Democratic nomination have raised more than Mr Trump.

Mrs Hillary Clinton, the party's front-runner, brought in US$26.4 million in April, including funds from a joint fundraising effort with the Democratic Party.

An outside Super PAC supporting her campaign raised US$8.6 million. A Super PAC is a fund-raising group that must operate separate from political campaigns but can raise unlimited sums.

US Senator Bernie Sanders, Mrs Clinton's rival for the Democratic nomination, raised US$26.9 million in April. He has disavowed Super PACs.

Mr Trump has criticised them too, though a long-time Republican operative in May joined one Super PAC backing the real estate mogul.

In May, Mr Trump hired investor Steven Mnuchin as his national finance chairman and entered a joint fundraising deal with the Republican National Committee that will allow donors to write much bigger checks.

Friday's FEC filings do not reflect these moves, but they show that Mr Trump's fundraising dipped in April, after he brought in about US$3 million and loaned himself US$11.5 million in March.

He also spent less in April, US$9.4 million compared with US$13.8 million a month earlier, when more states held nominating contests.

Mr Trump spent US$2.6 million on advertising in April, less than half the US$6.3 million he spent in March. By comparison, Sen Sanders spent US$17.3 million and Mrs Clinton spent US$9.3 million on advertising in April.

Mr Trump's consulting and payroll spending also dropped about 30 per cent to a total US$1.7 million in April, even as he added experienced political staff. At the end of March, he hired veteran Republican strategist Paul Manafort.

Mr Trump ended April with US$2.4 million on hand, after starting the month with US$2.1 million at the ready.