Trump Campaign Refunds Millions To Donors Misled By Manipulative Fundraising Tactics
Nearly $13 million has been returned in 2021 to Trump donors who were tricked into paying recurring donations
In the first six months of 2021, former President Donald Trump and the Republican Party refunded approximately $12.8 million back to campaign donors who fell prey to aggressive and misleading fundraising tactics, per a New York Times report.
This payment is in addition to roughly $122 million the Trump campaign refunded to donors in 2020 for the same reasons.
Quite interesting that a politician would deceive their own supportersthat does not seem to be a logical path to loyalty
The campaign deployed the deceptive tactics in March 2020, quietly updating its online donation portal with a pre-checked option box signing supporters up for recurring donations rather than one-time payments. Later in June, another pre-checked option box appeared asking for more money in celebration of Trumps birthday.
Many donors did not realize they had to manually un-check each box in order to avoid payment, and unwittingly donated thousands in support of Trumps re-election. Among those deceived was a 63-year-old cancer patient who was tricked into paying over $3,000 after initially meaning to donate just $500, per the Times.
Following the FECs unanimous vote, its clear we should take action to ban this practice and ensure contributors are fully informed. This legislation will do just that, said U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar in a statement.
Gop Group Tells Online Donors: Give Every Month Or ‘we Will Have To Tell Trump You’re A Defector’
The campaign arm of House Republicans is using an aggressive tactic to push online donors toward committing to monthly contributions, telling them that opting out of having the same amount automatically charged to their credit card or withdrawn from their bank each month is an act of disloyalty toward former President Donald Trump.
UPDATE: The has an even worse alternate prechecked recurring donation box that says they will “tell Trump you are a DEFECTOR” if unchecked. h/t cc
Business Benefits: Kelcy Warren Roger Norman Palmer Luckey
Some of the biggest new donors are less outspoken about their ideologies but gained tangible benefits from Trumps presidency.
Dallas billionaire Kelcy Warren welcomed the impact he anticipated Trump would have on his company, Energy Transfer Partners, which operates the Dakota Access Pipeline. Two days after the 2016 election, he told investors, Having a government that actually backs up what they say, that were going to support infrastructure, were going to support job creation, were going to support growth in America, and then actually does it? My God, this is going to be refreshing.
On Trumps fourth full day in office, he signed an executive order to help clear the way for the Dakota Access Pipeline, a thousand-mile link to North Dakotas oil fields. Energy Transfers stock price soared, and Warrens wealth climbed from $2.8 billion to $4.5 billion, according to Forbes. The magazine said the percentage gain was bigger than that of any other American that year.
The Dakota Access Pipeline became a high-profile controversy in 2016 when environmentalists and Native Americans rallied to the support of the local Standing Rock Sioux, who raised concerns that the pipeline would endanger their drinking water. With Trumps support, the pipeline was completed in April 2017 and started shipping oil the next month. But legal challenges continued, and a federal court in Washington eventually held that the Trump administration cut corners on the required environmental reviews.
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Potential Laundering Of Political Donations
Foreign powers can also try to influence political campaigns by directly funding candidates. Though U.S. campaign laws bar foreign funding, foreign actors could exploit existing regulatory gaps to circumvent this ban.87 For example, shell corporations, U.S.-based subsidiaries of foreign companies, and so-called dark money groups can all be used to disguise the true origin of donations.
A summary of how the Trump campaign was funded
To fund his 2016 campaign, President Trump reportedly raised88 $339 million and spent $322 million.89 Trump personally contributed $66 million to his campaign, mostly in loans.90 In June 2016, he announced his decision to forgive $50 millions worth of loans he had made to his campaign that same month, Trump sold his entire stock portfolio, estimated at $40 million.91 The Trump campaign received $238.6 million from donors who gave $200 or less, comprising 68 percent of all individual donations.92 Despite his initial criticism of super PACs, Trump eventually accepted tens of millions of dollars from super PACs and politically active nonprofits.93 Trump has shattered records with his fundraising for the 2020 campaign, having raised $100 million as of October 2018.94
The Agalarovs entanglement with Trump and the art of collusion
Kaveladzes companies moved more than a billion dollars through U.S. banks in the 1990s
What painting did Agalarov gift Trump and how much was it worth?
American oligarchs, Russian wealth
How Trump Steered Supporters Into Unwitting Donations
Stacy Blatt was in hospice care last September listening to Rush Limbaughs dire warnings about how badly Donald Trumps campaign needed money when he went online and chipped in everything he could: $500.
It was a big sum for a 63-year-old battling cancer and living in Kansas City on less than $1,000 per month. But that single contribution federal records show it was his first ever quickly multiplied. Another $500 was withdrawn the next day, then $500 the next week and every week through mid-October, without his knowledge until Blatts bank account had been depleted and frozen. When his utility and rent payments bounced, he called his brother, Russell Blatt, for help.
What the Blatts soon discovered was $3,000 in withdrawals by the Trump campaign in less than 30 days. They called their bank and said they thought they were victims of fraud.
It felt, Russell Blatt said, like it was a scam.
But what the Blatts believed was duplicity was actually an intentional scheme to boost revenues by the Trump campaign and the for-profit company that processed its online donations, WinRed. Facing a cash crunch and getting badly outspent by the Democrats, the campaign had begun last September to set up recurring donations by default for online donors for every week until the election.
Contributors had to wade through a fine-print disclaimer and manually uncheck a box to opt out.
It should be in textbooks of what you shouldnt do, he said.
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Timothy Mellon Pan Am Systems $10 Million
An heir to the Mellon banking fortune and the grandson of former U.S. Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon, his is among the biggest donations this election cycle. He owns the largest regional railroad in North America, Pan Am Railways, which went up for sale in July. Hes been notably reclusive and absent from politics. Republican operatives reportedly had to look his name up on Google when he came forward to help.
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Now WinRed is exporting the tools it pioneered during the Trump reelection across the Republican Party, presaging a new normal for GOP campaigns.
Today, the websites of various Republican Party committees and top congressional Republicans, including Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the House minority leader, and Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader, include prechecked yellow boxes for multiple or recurring donations.
And after Trumps first public speech of his post-presidency at the end of February, his new political operation sent its first text message to supporters since he left the White House. Did you miss me? he asked.
The message directed supporters to a WinRed donation page with two prechecked yellow boxes. Trump raised $3 million that day, according to an adviser, with more to come from the recurring donations in the months ahead.
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Trump Camp Uses Online Gimmick To Fuel Donations Into December
The Trump campaign is now automatically checking a box to create recurring weekly donations from supporters until mid-December.
- Read in app
President Trumps campaign is raising money for a prolonged political and legal fight long after Nov. 3 and recently began automatically checking a box to withdraw additional weekly contributions from online donors through mid-December nearly six weeks after Election Day.
Predicting FRAUD like youve never seen, the language on Mr. Trumps website opts contributors into making the weekly post-election donations to ensure we have the resources to protect the results and keep fighting even after Election Day. Users must proactively click to avoid making multiple contributions.
The unusual post-election revenue stream would help Mr. Trump pay off any bills that his campaign accumulates before Tuesday a campaign spokesman said no such debts had been incurred and could help fund a lengthy legal fight if the results are contested.
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, a spokesman for Mr. Trumps campaign. The election process this year is under extraordinary circumstances, and we are also anticipating that Silicon Valley will attempt to interfere with our online fund-raising efforts post-election.
We have plenty, he said. You can only buy so many commercials.
$28 Million In Trump Reelection Donations Went To The Trump Organization: Report
Additionally, $4.3 million raised by his campaigns joint-fundraising committee, which collected money with the Republican Party, was spent on Trumps businesses from Jan. 20, 2017, to Dec. 31, 2020, according to Forbes examination of campaign filings to the Federal Election Commission.
Forbes reported mid-year in 2020 that $2.2 million in donations from his campaign alone had already been spent on Trump properties. The Washington Post reported in early December that more than $1.06 million in campaign contributions were spent on Trump businesses in just the last weeks of his race.
Trump never contributed a cent to his reelection campaign, Forbes reported.
Trump raised $76 million after his loss ostensibly to battle the presidential election results and to help the Republican candidates in the vital Senate races in Georgia but didnt spend a dime on any of it, HuffPost has reported.
He put nothing back. He didnt care, one top Republican familiar with the fundraising operation told HuffPost. He put all this money in the bank for his own legal fights.
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Personal Ties: Anthony Lomangino Steve Witkoff Vernon Hill
Though Perlmutter, 78, was drawn in by his personal relationship with Trump, he has become a bigger force in Florida Republican politics. Before backing Trump, he and his wife gave $2 million to a super PAC supporting then-presidential candidate Marco Rubio, and more recently hes become a major benefactor of Gov. Ron DeSantis, widely considered a leading contender for the partys 2024 presidential nomination if Trump doesnt run.
For other new mega-donors who got involved because of their personal ties to Trump, its less clear if their support will extend to other candidates.
Fellow Mar-a-Lago member Anthony Lomangino and his wife have given more than $3 million, plus $150,000 to help aides cover legal fees arising from the Robert Muellers Russia investigation. They had previously given less than $40,000 total. Lomangino, whose wealth derives from selling a recycling-collection company to industry giant Waste Management, declined to comment.
Vernon Hill, Trumps sometime banker and golf buddy, gave more than $2 million, 10 times more than hed ever given before. In 2020 he praised the federal governments small business relief program, which his bank, like many others, helped administer. Hill didnt respond to requests for comment.
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Trumps campaign to win the presidency required money, as did the Kremlins campaign to help him. While these two campaigns aligned in their goalTrumps victory3overt monetary contributions from Russia would have drawn regulatory scrutiny, not to mention public ire. Any financial support from abroad, therefore, would have had to be creatively obscured.
U.S. law bans foreign nationals from donating to political campaigns, but they can circumvent the restrictions by routing financial support through anonymous bank accounts, shell corporations, front companies, and other opaque transaction vehicles. Such maneuvering does not require a brilliant financial mind or a suite of high-tech instruments: In many places, including the United States, it is easy to set up a company without disclosing its purpose or the identity of its true owners. Foreign adversaries can then use these companies to execute anonymous financial transactions that facilitate attacks on free and fair democratic elections. For example, a network of shell corporations could be used to hide the origin of foreign funds pumped into a political action committee or a social media political ad campaign. The Kremlin has long had expertise in this area. During the Soviet Unions heyday, the KGB perfected the craft of anonymously moving funds to seed foreign political campaigns.4 The FSB and the GRU, the agencys heirs, are well-versed in these techniques as well.5
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Trump Campaign Rnc Refund Donors Another $128 Million In : Nyt
Donald TrumpGrant Woods, longtime friend of McCain and former Arizona AG, dies at 67Glasgow summit raises stakes for Biden dealMORE‘s campaign and the Republican Party returned around $12.8 million to donors in the first six months of 2021, The New York Time reported.
It was previously reported in April that Trump’s reelection campaign had refunded around $122 million to donors in 2020. Recently released federal records have revealed that the Trump campaign has so far returned $135 million to campaign donors.
Shortly before Election Day last year, Trump’s campaign made recurring payments the default option on its donation website, meaning that people had to uncheck the option to avoid being charged weekly.
The Times found that the campaign had attempted to obscure this detail by placing it in the fine print beneath multiple lines of bolded and capitalized text
The campaign also added a second pre-checked box that doubled a donor’s donation along with new lines of text that distracted readers from what they were agreeing to.
Trump’s reelection campaign reportedly withdrew more than $3,000 in less than a month from one donor who was in hospice care and had donated $500 in September.
Shortly after the FEC’s recommendation was made, Senate Democrats introduced a bill to ban the practice of pre-checking boxes for recurring campaign donations.
The Times previously reported that Trump’s campaign has returned more than 10 percent of the $1.2 billion that it raised. President Biden