Monday, August 2, 2021

Former President Trump Fleeces $100 Million from Gullible Followers

A Trump supporter and reader of this blog emailed me a few days eek about a story of how former President Trump's fundraising PAC's hauled in more than $100 million last year.  He was giddy...he believed, and still believes Trump, is going to take that money and use it in primaries to boost Trumpers running against Republicans who chose to put American democracy and he Constitution ahead of loyalty to Dear Leader.

I just laughed. To Trump,  the money his PACs raise is HIS money.   Oh, and by "his money" I mean his personal money.  Trump sees no distinction between money raised for political purposes and money given to him personally.  It is nothing for Trump to take a pile of political cash and make "expenditure" payments to companies that enrich himself, his family and friends.  He did this so much during the 2020 presidential election cycle that the Trump campaign was nearly broke in the weeks leading up to the election.

Of the $102 million raised by Trump PACs during the first six months, $90 million of it was raised by the Save America leadership PACs.  (Actually $82 million because $8 million was a transfer from 2020.)  None of the money from the Save America PAC has gone to congressional candidates in 2021.  CNN reports:

Save America is the former President's primary fundraising and public relations vehicle, and he uses it to issue statements endorsing his favored candidates and denouncing those he opposes. But the PAC had not contributed to any congressional candidates during the first six months of the year, according to its filings with the Federal Election Commission. Miller told CNN that checks began going out to endorsed candidates in July, after the period covered by the new filings.

Leadership PACs such as Save America have a cap on donations, but federal rules impose few restrictions on how their contributions can be spent. And during the first six months of the year, the PAC spent about $68,000 for lodging and meals at the Trump Hotel Collection, according to records.

Again, this Trump Super PAC has spent ZERO on other Republicans.  The article continues.

Trump has another super PAC, Make America Great Again Action.  It has raised a little more than $5 million as of June 30th.  Its donors include Don Ahern, a Nevada businessman who contributed $1 million, former Georgia Sen. Kelly Loeffler at $250,000 and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell at $100,000.  This PAC has given $100,000 to Texas Republican in an unsuccessful effort to win a special run-off election against another, less-Trumpy Republican, Jake Elzey.  This PAC has contributed more than $400,000 to promote coal lobbyist Mike Carey, in a Columbus-area primary preceding a special election to fill an open congressional seat.

A little math calculation indicates that Trump has spent .4% of the money his PACs have raised on donations to political candidates.  That's .4% not 4%.

Yeah, that sounds about right.

Of course, to get that money in the door, Trump is not above engaging in a little lot of fraud.  In asking for contributions to the Save American PAC, Trump told donors the money would be used for "election defense," an effort to overturn the results of the 2020 election.  Trump has spent zero on that cause.  When that scam ran out, he filed bogus First Amendment class-action lawsuits against Facebook, Google and Twitter, which lawsuits were solely for the purpose of engaging in more fundraising for the PAC.  

The Guardian sums it up:

“Donald Trump is a one-man scam Pac,” said Paul S Ryan, vice-president of policy and litigation with Common Cause. (Note: This is not THE Paul Ryan, former Speaker of the House.) “Bait-and-switch is among his favorite fundraising tactics,” Ryan stressed, noting that Trump’s Save America Pac told “supporters he needed money to challenge the result of an election he clearly lost”, and then wound up not spending any on litigation last year.

“Now he’s at it again, with frivolous lawsuits filed [in July] against Facebook, Twitter and Google, accompanied by fundraising appeals,” Ryan added. “This time he’s got the unlimited dark money group America First Policy Institute in on the racket.”

Other experts voice strong concerns about Trump’s tactics with Save America

“The president deceived his donors. He asked them to give money so he could contest the election results, but then he spent their contributions to pay off unrelated debts,” said Adav Noti, a former associate general counsel at the Federal Election Commission and now chief of staff at the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center.

Noti added: “ That’s dangerously close to fraud. If a regular charity – or an individual who didn’t happen to be president of the United States – had raised tens of millions of dollars through that sort of deception, they would face a serious risk of prosecution.”

I have a lot of sympathy for people who fall prey to a scam.  But when a con man continually shows the public who he is and fools (i.e. "marks") give him money anyway, my sympathy goes out the window.  

Remember Trump University?  Remember the Trump Foundation?  Donald Trump's entire career has been running one con after another.  Trump's post-election loss fundraising ventures are only his latest scams.  At some point the Trumpers continually opening their wallets for a two bit con man need to stop being stupid.  

OOP's short takes:

  • I've been thinking of a way to define what the Republican Party has become under Donald Trump's leadership.  Some call the GOP the "stupid" party or the "anti-science" party.  Critics say the Republican Party isn't "conservative" anymore.  While all those descriptions have merit, they also fall short.  After all, there are still smart Republicans who believe in science and are also conservative.  
  • But there is one trait that virtually every prominent Republican displays ad nauseum these days:  assholery.  Every Republican in the public eye today seems to think the way to get ahead in politics is to be the biggest asshole possible.
  • The online urban dictionary defines "assholery" as:  "An institution that produces a large amount of assholes in a manner that resembles the systematic and high output of industrial factories."  That is, sadly, the most accurate description of what my Republican Party has become.

1 comment:

Leon said...

Hardly giddy but keeping you informed is a lot harder than people would think. Meanwhile, gives more on how the FBI is not that much different than the mafia. I seem to recollect that Mr. Trump's funds made a quite large donation in an Ohio race but you didn't think that counted?