The Expenses Trump Can’t Pay With Save America Funds
Although the Trump campaign is still explicitly soliciting for “Election Defense Funds,” money donated to his Save America PAC cannot be used to support Mr. Trump’s own campaign or the cost of litigation arising from his campaign, Brendan Fischer, Federal Reform Program director at the Campaign Legal Center, told CBS News.
And Fischer pointed out on that none of the funds raised by Save America paid for Mr. Trump’s legal or recount expenses. Instead, much of the money initially raised was used to pay fundraising expenses to WinRed, the conservative fundraising platform used by the RNC.
Mr. Trump and Republicans appear to be paying their post-election legal bills, however they’re just using a separate recount account and the RNC’s legal account.
Save America also cannot be used to retire Mr. Trump’s campaign debt. Going into November, he seemed to be running low on cash, with just $60 million in cash on hand and $160 million owed for TV ads alone.
But Fischer noted that Mr. Trump has mostly paid off his campaign debt with money raised just after the election from people who may have believed they were giving to his “official election defense fund.”
A Small Yellow Box And A Flood Of Fraud Complaints
The small and bright yellow box popped up on Mr. Trumps digital donation portal around . The text was boldface, simple and straightforward: Make this a monthly recurring donation.
The box came prefilled with a check mark.
But for Mr. Trump, the prechecked monthly box was just the beginning.
Ronna McDaniel, the R.N.C. chairwoman, crowed to Fox News about the achievement without mentioning how exactly the party had pulled it off. Republicans are thinking smarter digitally, she said, and were poised to outwork, outdo, and outmaneuver the Democrats at every turn.
The two prechecked yellow boxes would be a fixture for the rest of the campaign. And so would a much larger volume of refunds.
Until then, the Biden and Trump operations had nearly identical refund rates on WinRed and ActBlue in 2020: 2.18 percent for Mr. Trump and 2.17 percent for Mr. Biden.
But from the day after Mr. Trumps birthday through the rest of the year, Mr. Bidens refund rate remained nearly flat, at 2.24 percent, while Mr. Trumps soared to 12.29 percent.
In early September just after learning that it had been outraised by the Biden operation in August by more than $150 million the Trump campaign became even more aggressive.
You dont realize it until after everything is already in motion, said Bruce Turner, 72, of Gilbert, Ariz., whose wifes $1,000 donation in early October became $6,000 by Election Day. They were refunded $5,000 the week after the election, records show.
How Do Recurring Campaign Contributions Work
Like any other not-for-profit enterprise, political campaigns work with money from donors. Donations from large corporate interests and the mega-wealthy have gotten a lot of press, but many of those donations come from middle-class and working-class families. Since those families rarely have the money to write a single, large check, they opt for subscription plans where the campaign draws a set amount monthly.
In some cases, the payment goes through a specific website. The most famous example of this from the recent election cycle was the huge outpouring of small donations online for Bernie Sanderâs campaign, but most local, state and national candidates have this option. In other cases, websites like RaiseTheMoney.com handle the fundraising for the candidates . In both cases, the end result is the same: money is taken out of a donorâs bank account each month and deposited into the campaign funding accounts of the candidate, organization or cause accepting the donation.
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Our Rating: Partly False
Claims that fast-food chains have donated to presidential campaigns are PARTLY FALSE. According to the Federal Elections Commission, corporations are unable to donate to political campaigns. However, affiliates of the companies including CEOs, employees, unions and PACs can. Some of the restaurants in question do have affiliates that have donated to President Donald Trump and other Republican efforts, but the restaurants themselves have not. In several cases, the affiliates donated more to former Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders than to Trump.
‘anything But A Normal Election’
New Democratic candidates are entering their partys intramural presidential fray by the week there could be upward of 20 candidates running against one another by spring.
Trump, for now, has no serious competition, either for his partys nomination or conservative campaign dollars, although a few Republicans, such as 2016 Libertarian vice presidential candidate Bill Weld and 2016 Republican presidential candidate and former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, are flirting with a 2020 run. Trump is free to continue operating in general election mode, even if he must stand for what may be little more than perfunctory primary votes.
Almost a full year remains before voters in Iowa and New Hampshire, which host the nations first presidential caucus and primary, respectively, cast their ballots.
Trump likely will continue to use his monopoly on the Republican side of the presidential race to conduct large-scale re-election campaign rallies, as hes done from the earliest days of his presidency. His latest one came last week, when he visited El Paso, Texas, to talk about border security and building the wall, but also to sell Trump merchandise, bulk up his social media followings and otherwise fire up his core supporters.
Trumps gaggle of supportive super PACs and nonprofits will continue their work all the while, peppering TV screens, social media feeds and inboxes with incessant pro-Trump messaging and fundraising appeals.
This is anything but a normal election cycle, he said.
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Are Presidential Campaigns Too Long
Heres one thing on which most Americans of all political leanings agree: An endless presidential campaign season is unbearable.
Two-thirds of Americans would like presidential campaigns to occur in a limited time frame, versus 14 percent who prefer no limits on how long such campaigns last, according to a Center for Public Integrity/Ipsos poll conducted in late January. This sentiment is shared almost equally by Republicans, Democrats and independents.
Two-thirds of Center for Public Integrity/Ipsos poll respondents also believe elected officials should be prohibited from raising campaign money during non-election years, with Democrats favoring such a restriction slightly more than independents and Republicans .
Election fatigue is real.
Chris Jackson, pollster
Election fatigue is real, Ipsos pollster Chris Jackson said.
Most Americans do not spend a lot of time thinking about politics, nor do they hold politicians in particularly high esteem, Jackson said. Put that together and you have many Americans being pushed into thinking about people they do not particularly like on a topic they do not particularly care about.
Nevertheless, the US system of government lends itself to longer campaigns.
Would federal lawmakers attempt to limit presidential and congressional campaigning, crunching electioneering into some defined period before Election Day?
Unlikely, several election law attorneys explain.
Trump Campaign Automatically Opts Donors Into Recurring Weekly Contributions
President Donald Trumps campaign is making the default option for campaign contributions a repeating weekly donation that will continue through mid-December. Donors must opt out of making repeat donations until six weeks after the election is over. Such a boost in post-election donations would help the campaign pay off debts that may carry over from the present until after the results have been declared, but a Trump campaign spokesperson told The New York Times that the campaign has no such payment obligations, and Election Day is just three days away. This race will be very close, and it is possible that multiple states will require recounts and potential additional spending from our campaign, said Tim Murtaugh. He added that supporters can opt out of repeating their donation after they make the first one.
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Senate Dems Make Strange Bedfellows With Never Trumpers
The Lincoln Project was spawned by a group of Never Trump Republican operatives trying to sink the presidents reelection bid. But the group, flush with cash from enraged Democratic donors, soon set its sights on Senate Republicans the group deemed to be Trump enablers.
The Lincoln Project launched bombastic ads that mirrored its attacks on the president.
And for that mission, it found a willing partner: Senate Democrats main outside groups. Senate Majority PAC, which is run by allies of Senate MInority Leader Chuck Schumer, gave $550,000 to The Lincoln Project on Oct. 30, according to new FEC reports. Majority Forward, the nonprofit group affiliated with SMP, also gave $650,000 to The Lincoln Project in mid-October, after previously donating to the group.
The disclosure that Senate Democrats big money arm was working with a group of Republican consultants, even ones who disavowed the president, provoked eye-rolls from some Democrats.
WTF SMP, a Democratic aide who worked on a Senate campaign texted after a POLITICO reporter tweeted out the fundraising figures. This is why Dems lose. Im just stunned.
Tracking Billionaire Donations Over Time
Forbes mined more than 2.5 million entries in the Federal Election Commission database to identify Trumps richest donors. We searched for contributions made to the presidents campaign committee, Donald J. Trump For President. Our analysis begins on inauguration day, 2017, when Trump officially filed papers for his reelection effort, and ends on February 29, 2020, the latest date for which the campaign has submitted federal filings.
Most of the donors, some 56%, live in just three states: Florida, New York and Texas. More than three-quarters are self-made. The rest inherited small fortunes and grew them into bigger ones. They come from all sorts of industriesreal estate, energy, sports and so on. But one-fifth of the donors got rich in finance & investments. That group includes titans like Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman, hedge funder John Paulson and retired Franklin Templeton chief Charles B. Johnson. About 10% of the donors made their money in real estate, including Trumps fellow New York City billionaire, Richard LeFrak. Shopping mall magnate Edward DeBartolo pitched in $3,000 with his wife Cynthia Trump later pardoned him, in February.
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Contributions To New York Politicians
Trump has donated $553,390 to New York politicians, and $344,900 of that has gone to Democrats. When asked why he has supported more Democrats than Republicans in his home state, Trump replied, I am a businessman. And when, you know, a Speaker of the House or head of the Senate or, you know, people call, you know, I generally speak. As a businessman, you wanna be friendly with everybody. … Im a conservative Republican, but I get along with everybody. And Ive contributed to people that are Democrats and Ive contributed to many people. Now in New York, you know, when you look at Governor when you look at Mayor, its very rare that you ever see Republicans in New York. You dont even see them, theyre like atheyre like a you know 1% of the vote. Its like a very, veryand Im not sure exactly what the percentage is but you get very, very little.
Trumps last contribution to a Democratic member of Congress was Senator Kirsten Gillibrand . In September 2010, he made two donations of $2,400 to her campaign. His last contribution to the Democratic Party was $10,000 to the Democratic Cmte of New York State in September 2010.
May 201: Launch Of First Advertising Campaign
On May 1, the campaign announced that they were spending $1.5 million on national advertisements touting Trump’s accomplishments in the first hundred days. The ad buy, which included who supported specific agenda items of Trump’s presidency, came approximately 42 months before election day 2020, or any other major party’s candidate declarations.FactCheck.org found several inaccuracies in the advertisement, and Eric Zorn of the Chicago Tribune described the 30-second advertisement as being, “stuffed with Trump’s signature misleading puffery”. Additionally, original versions of the ad showed Trump shaking hands with H. R. McMaster, an active-duty military member who was barred from participating in any political advocacy while in uniform. Subsequent airings of the advertisement substituted this clip.
The ad claimed that the “fake news” media refused to report the successes of the administration, but Forbes pointed out that the ad itself cited mainstream media sources including CNBC, The Boston Globe and The New York Times. Because of this accusation against the news media, CNN decided to stop running the ad, a decision that campaign manager Michael Glassner criticized as an action to “censor our free speech”.ABC, CBS and NBC later joined CNN in refusing to play the ad. Lara Trump, a consultant to the campaign and the daughter-in-law of the president, called the ad removals “an unprecedented act of censorship in America that should concern every freedom-loving citizen”.
The President Is Mostly Raising Money For A Post
President Trumps campaign has been on a fundraising tear since the election he lost Nov. 3, emailing and texting supporters multiple times per day asking for contributions to his Official Election Defense Fund.
The campaign is raising money off false assertions that have apparently helped it pay down its outstanding debt and will help finance the leadership PAC that could allow Trump to retain influence in the Republican Party even after leaving office.
We wont know how much the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee have raised through these fundraising appeals until Dec. 3, when post-election campaign finance reports are due. But it doesnt look like much of the money hes been raising will actually go to pay for the recounts or the legal challenges.
Although the fundraising emails refer to an election defense task force or an election defense fund, in reality, donors are giving to the Trump Make America Great Again Committee, where contributions are split between Trumps committees and the RNC.
Trumps barrage of lawsuits are incredibly unlikely to have much success, much less change the outcome of the election. And despite these frenzied solicitations asking for money to defend the election, the funds these appeals are bringing in are not going first to Trumps nor the RNCs recount and legal accounts.
Biden Faces ‘balancing Act’ Advancing Clean Energy Alongside Labor Allies
The tension between the RNC and outside political groups is not a new one, but Trump’s singular popularity with rank-and-file voters presents a unique danger to the party’s ability to raise money, if Trump isn’t on board. Both major parties have come to increasingly rely on small donors, because of the ease of donating online, and this episode shows the grip Trump retains on them and that he’s willing to use that leverage when it suits him.
“It shouldn’t be surprising to anyone,” said Doug Heye, who was communications director at the RNC at the beginning of the Obama presidency and is no fan of Trump. “We’ve known that Trump’s loyalty is to himself not only first and foremost, but only. We’ve seen that play out any time anyone has said anything critical.”
Heye noted the influence the former president has over McDaniel, who used to include her maiden name: Romney. She is Utah Sen. Mitt Romney’s niece.
“Ronna McDaniel basically dropped her maiden name for the guy. She’s been fiercely loyal to Trump, always defended him, never been critical, and this is the thanks you get. It says to me Trump doesn’t give points, he only takes them away one at a time.”
How political parties spend the money they raise
Outside of Washington, D.C., what the national political committees actually do is likely something of a mystery. But they do a lot for candidates and state parties.
Democrats went on to win both races and control of the U.S. Senate.
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