CYBERSPACE—A week after 60 Minutes aired its blockbuster interview with Stormy Daniels, and almost a month after she filed a lawsuit against him, Donald Trump still has not made any public mention of the AVN Hall of Famer with whom he allegedly had an affair.
But Trump’s silence should not be interpreted as a lack of interest in the case, according a report on Saturday by the celebrity news site TMZ. According what the site says are federal documents it has obtained, the Executive Office of the President contracted an online search firm to track how the media was covering the Daniels story—starting one day after she filed her lawsuit on March 6.
But the matter has not simply been one of private, personal interest to Trump. According to the media reports of what the Federal Procurement documents reveal, Trump has spent more than $27,000 of taxpayer cash to track media coverage of the Daniels story in under four weeks since hiring the search firm TVEyes.
That amount is more than twice the average American’s total annual tax bill, including state and local taxes. On average, American pay roughly $10,500 in total taxes per year.
TMZ points out that the federal documents do not mention Daniels or specify what, specifically, TVEyes was hired to monitor. But the the fact that the firm was hired on March 7—and that the amount spent so far is the most Trump has yet spent on a contract with TVEyes—would appear to indicate that the Daniels story was what caught Trump’s interest.
Last year, Trump’s office spent about $9,000 for the firm to track a story involving allegations that his then-Chief of Staff Reince Priebus interfered with the FBI’s investigation into Russian collusion with Trump’s presidential campaign, TMZ reported. Until the expense in March, that was the highest total that the EOP paid to the firm.
According to its website, TVEyes “is a search engine expressly designed for television and radio. You can quickly discover and pinpoint the right broadcast coverage by keyword or using sophisticated search logic. ...We monitor more than 2,000 TV and radio stations, in 12 languages, around the world, all day, every day.”
Photo of Donald Trump at CPAC 2011 by Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons