Throughout his career Donald Trump has made significant donations to state officials while they were involved in decisions affecting his business, the Wall Street Journal has revealed today.
The GOP candidate portrays himself as an "outsider" contender for the White House independent from special interests and what he calls the "rigged" system.
However, the revelations show he used donations to divert focus away from alleged malpractice in his business operations as a property mogul.
Trump's camp claim the donations are not demonstrative of a "rigged" system. Alan Garten, general counsel at the Trump Organisation told the Wall Street Journal that "he has always said he's given to politicians his entire career and he thinks the system is broken."
"Thinking that the system is broken doesn't preclude him from giving to politicians when they are knocking on his door 365 days of the year," he said.
In 2015, Trump told the Wall Street Journal that donations were an explicit strategy: "As a businessman and a very substantial donor to very important people, when you give, they do whatever the hell you want them to do," he said."
"As a businessman, I need that."
The issue first came up when it was revealed Trump had given a campaign contribution to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi who was reviewing the fraud case against Trump University.
Trump also donated $25,000 to Bondi's 2014 re election campaign from his charitable fund. The IRS ordered he pay a $2,500 fee for improper use of funds. Garten put it down to a clerical error.
Records obtained by the Wall Street Journal show Trump, his family and associates particularly made donations to attorneys general in New York starting in the 1980s.
Money often changed hands when Trump's companies had decisions pending in the offices of the attorney general.
Roughly $140,000 has been given to attorneys general or those running for the post between 2001 to 2014. The totals prior to 2001 weren't known.