Citizen Action Monitor

Trump pockets “election defense” donations that he could use “to finance a post-election political career”

Behold the cruel irony of a Trump supporter holding a sign: “The Left will try to STEAL this election!” —

No 2682 Posted by fw, November 13, 2020 —

“As President Donald Trump seeks to discredit last week’s election with baseless claims of voter fraud, his team has bombarded his supporters with requests for money to help pay for legal challenges to the results: ‘The Left will try to STEAL this election!’ reads one text. But any small-dollar donations from Trump’s grassroots donors won’t be going to legal expenses at all, according to a Reuters review of the legal language in the solicitations. A donor would have to give more than $8,000 before any money goes to the ‘recount account’ established to finance election challenges, including recounts and lawsuits over alleged improprieties, the fundraising disclosures show. … Unlike campaign funds, which have tight controls on how they can be spent, leadership PACs such as Save America carry few restrictions. Republicans and Democrats alike have drawn criticism for using them to pay family members and to fund luxury events in exotic locations. A 2018 report by the Campaign Legal Center and Issue One, two groups that advocate campaign finance reform, said some leadership PACs have been used as vehicles to “subsidize lavish lifestyles” of politicians ‘on their donors’ dimes.’ Larry Noble, former general counsel at the Federal Election Commission, said Trump could use the committee to finance a post-election political career. He said the pitch is misleading for donors who don’t read the fine print.”Reuters

BEHOLD THE IRONY!

Below is my abridged repost of Trump’s double-dealing ploy to steal money from his trusting supporters. Gee, why am I not surprised.

To read the complete Reuters’ article, click on the following linked title.

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Donations under $8K to Trump ‘election defense’ instead go to president, RNC by Jarrett Renshaw, Joseph Tanfani, Reuters, November 11, 2020

[FOLLOW THE MONEY]

As President Donald Trump seeks to discredit last week’s election with baseless claims of voter fraud, his team has bombarded his supporters with requests for money to help pay for legal challenges to the results: “The Left will try to STEAL this election!” reads one text.

But any small-dollar donations from Trump’s grassroots donors won’t be going to legal expenses at all, according to a Reuters review of the legal language in the solicitations.

A donor would have to give more than $8,000 before any money goes to the “recount account” established to finance election challenges, including recounts and lawsuits over alleged improprieties, the fundraising disclosures show.

The emailed solicitations send supporters to an “Official Election Defense Fund” website that asks them to sign up for recurring donations to “protect the results and keep fighting even after Election Day.”

[SILENCE GREETS REQUESTS FOR COMMENT]

The fine print makes clear most of the money will go to other priorities. A large portion of the money goes to “Save America,” a Trump leadership PAC, or political action committee, set up on Monday, and the Republican National Committee (RNC). Under Federal Election Commission rules, both groups have broad leeway in how they can use the funds. The Trump campaign, the RNC and Trump’s new Save America PAC did not respond to requests for comment.

[SCAMMING DECEIT ABOUNDS]

Leadership PACs such as Save America are often set up by prominent political figures to spend money on other candidates, while also paying for personal expenses, such as travel and hotel stays. The disclosures would allow Trump and the RNC to channel the donations into other political causes or campaigns, such as the two high-stakes January Senate runoff races in Georgia that could determine control of the Senate and are likely to rank among the most expensive races in U.S. history.

Trump’s solicitation website carries a banner headline that says “OFFICIAL ELECTION DEFENSE FUND” and “CONTRIBUTE NOW.”

Scrolling down the page would take a donor to the fine print, which shows that donations are split between “Save America,” which gets 60% of the money, and the RNC, which gets the other 40%. None of the money flows to Trump’s official “recount” committee fund until Trump’s Save America share reaches the legal contribution limit of $5,000, according to the disclosures. That means that, before a dollar goes into the recount fund, Save America would receive $5,000 and the RNC around $3,300. Donations to the recount committee are legally limited to $2,800. If a Trump donor gave $500, for instance, $300 would go to Trump’s Save America PAC, $200 would to the RNC – and nothing would go to his election defense fund.

[BEHOLD, A RARE HONEST REPUBLCIAN SAYS TRUMP IS MISLEADING SUPPORTERS – AGAIN]

One Republican political strategist said Trump is misleading supporters who might give small donations to whatever cause he approves. “It’s important to be up front with people – especially those who are digging deep into their pockets to come up with $25,” said Michael DuHaime, a former political director at the RNC. “If you tell them it’s going for legal fees, well then it should go for legal fees.

[BUT A “PASTOR FOR TRUMP” HAS “NO PROBLEM” WITH DIVERTING MONEY]

Darrell Scott, an Ohio pastor who helped found the National Diversity Coalition for Trump and served on the president’s 2016 transition team, says he sees no problems with diverting the money to the leadership PAC or the RNC. “I see this as two pockets on the same pair of pants. It doesn’t matter if it goes into the left or the right pocket,” Scott said. “In the end, the money will be used for a legitimate purpose that his supporters will get behind.

[GOP COFFERS GREETED WITH CASH FLOW PROBLEM ENTERING FINAL STRETCH]

As the president fights what Democrats have called his inevitable ouster from the White House, his fundraising campaign seeks to replenish campaign coffers that were depleted during the presidential race, according to Federal Election Commission data.

Trump’s re-election team kicked off 2020 with an impressive cash advantage, thanks to a massive fundraising operation, including joint efforts with the Republican Party. But the advantage evaporated as Trump’s campaign burned through $1.4 billion of the $1.6 billion raised over the past two years.

By mid-October, the Trump campaign and the Republican Party reelection team were left with $223.5 million and had to scale back advertising. The Trump campaign itself only had $43 million entering the final three weeks of the presidential election, while Biden and the Democrats had $432 million in cash for the final stretch, including $177.3 million in Biden’s campaign.

[POST-ELECTION, TRUMP DIVERTS DONATIONS TO PAY DOWN CAMPAIGN DEBT]

Trump’s post-election fundraising emails – sometimes issued hourly over the last several days – used names such as the Election Defense Task Force and the Official Election Defense Fund. Initially, the disclosures said that Trump would steer a large part of the contributions to pay down campaign debt.

But the disclosure language changed after Trump’s campaign treasurer, Bradley Crate, incorporated the Save America political action committee on Monday. Crate did not reply to requests for comment.

[READ THE FINE PRINT — TRUMP COULD USE DONATIONS TO FINANCE HIS POST-ELECTION CAREER, SAYS OFFICIAL]

Larry Noble, former general counsel at the Federal Election Commission, said Trump could use the committee to finance a post-election political career. He said the pitch is misleading for donors who don’t read the fine print.

He’s really making a big deal about the challenge to the election, and that may very well be why a lot of people may give without paying attention to, or understanding, what the political language is,” Noble said. “It’s pretty dangerous to our democracy to use attacking our elections as a fundraising tool.”

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This entry was posted on November 13, 2020 by in evidence based counterpower, information counterpower, political action and tagged .
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