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Trump's former bodyguard paid handsomely by RNC 'slush fund'

The Center for Public Integrity explained today, "It pays to be in Donald Trump's circle of trust."

We learned last fall that the Republican National Committee, for reasons that have never been altogether clear, paid the legal bills for Donald Trump and Donald Trump Jr. -- but not the other members of the president's team who've been caught up in the Russia scandal.

CNBC reports today that the RNC also appears to be paying Trump's former bodyguard an unusually generous sum.

When President Donald Trump's longtime bodyguard Keith Schiller decided to leave his White House job last fall, many in the West Wing wondered how the president would manage without his personal security chief-turned-confidant, who had been working for Trump nearly 20 years.As it turns out, Schiller didn't go very far. Within weeks of leaving his job as director of Oval Office operations, Schiller's private security firm, KS Global Group, began collecting $15,000 a month for "security services" from the Republican National Committee.According to an RNC official, Schiller is being paid for security consulting on the site selection process for the 2020 Republican National Convention. Schiller's fee comes out of the RNC's convention fund, not its campaign fund, the official noted.

That's quite a generous payment for consulting on a choosing a location for a convention that's three years away. Indeed, at this rate, by the time of the next Republican convention, the RNC will have paid Schiller's firm $500,000.

Let's also note that $15,000 a month -- for "security services" -- is more than Schiller made as a White House employee.

Schiller's role in Trump World has long been a little hard to explain. Schiller used to serve as the head of Trump's private security detail, until last year, when he became the president's "full-time physical gatekeeper" at the White House.

In May 2016, it was Schiller who personally went to FBI headquarters to deliver the paperwork firing then-director James Comey, who was in California at the time.

And now he's in the private sector, collecting very generous RNC checks.

Stephen Spaulding, former special counsel at the Federal Election Commission and now chief of strategy at the nonpartisan advocacy group Common Cause, told CNBC that convention funds like the one paying Schiller "are notorious for being operated as slush funds."

Dave Levinthal of the nonpartisan Center for Public Integrity, added, "It pays to be in Donald Trump's circle of trust."

Yes, and now we're getting a sense of just how much it pays.