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Donald Trump's campaign tries to make peace with the Republican National Committee:

Trump campaign doubles spending, but not its ground game

 (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Donald Trump's campaign expenses more than doubled last month, even as the Republican presidential nominee held his payroll to about 70 employees, aired zero television advertisements and undertook no significant operational buildout across the country. 

Instead, about half of the campaign's $18.5 million in spending was vacuumed up by Giles-Parscale, a web design and marketing firm new to national politics, Federal Election Commission filings show. It's a crossover vendor from Trump's real estate organization. 

The campaign paid Giles-Parscale $8.4 million in July, about twice what the San Antonio firm had collected from it over the course of the preceding year. Brad Parscale, the firm's president, is the campaign's director of digital marketing. 

The big expense came as Trump put a new emphasis on online fundraising, after paying for his primary run mostly out of his own pocket. 

Millions more went to air travel. The campaign paid about $2 million for private jets other than Trump's own TAG Air, which also collected $500,000. 

Some of Trump's consultants are also mysteriously well-paid. 

Chess Bedsole, the campaign's Alabama state director, was paid $64,000 last month for field consulting. His last campaign payment was for $15,000 in December. 

Yet the campaign's payroll remained thin, and there did not appear to be much new in the way of office leases across the country, including in critical battleground states such as Ohio. 

Trump has relied heavily on the Republican National Committee for conventional campaign infrastructure. And he's boasted of holding the line on his campaign spending. But he's running critically low on time to build an operation that can compete with Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

In addition to being ahead of Trump in polls in key states, Clinton has maintained a staff of about 700 for months, opened up offices across the country and already spent $67 million on general-election ads. Trump put out his first ads days ago, spending $5 million to air them in Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania and North Carolina. 

Clinton's campaign spent $38 million in July, about double the spending of the Trump campaign.

Clinton can afford to spend more than Trump, the July campaign finance reports show. Her campaign raised $52 million for the month, while his brought in $37 million, including a $2-million contribution from Trump himself. 

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