In Defying the Odds, we discuss campaign finance and campaign technology. The 2019 update includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms.
Fredreka Schouten at CNN:
President Donald Trump's campaign entered October with just $63.1 million in remaining cash reserves, new filings show, underscoring his financial vulnerabilities as Election Day fast approaches.
His Democratic rival, Joe Biden, had nearly three times that amount -- more than $177 million -- remaining in his war chest, highlighting how the former vice president's fundraising success in recent months left him with a substantial money advantage as the fall campaign got underway.
Trump's campaign burned through more money than it took in last month, spending more than $91 million on advertising alone, according to a report it filed Tuesday evening with the Federal Election Commission. But the President's campaign has been outspent on television in recent weeks, as Biden has battered him on the airwaves, particularly in three swing states -- Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin -- that helped Trump secure the White House four years ago.
One sign of the President's cash crunch: Over the weekend, he flew to deep-blue California for a high-dollar fundraising event that aides say brought in $11 million for his reelection..
Brian Slodysko and Zeke Miller at AP
Since 2017, more than $39 million has been paid to firms controlled by Parscale, who was ousted as campaign manager over the summer. An additional $319.4 million was paid to American Made Media Consultants, a Delaware limited liability company, whose owners are not publicly disclosed.
Campaigns typically reveal in mandatory disclosures who their primary vendors are. But by routing money to Parscale’s firms, as well as American Made Media Consultants, Trump satisfied the basic disclosure requirements without detailing the ultimate recipients.
Other questionable expenditures by Trump and the RNC that are included in campaign finance disclosures:
— Nearly $100,000 spent on copies of Donald Trump Jr.’s book “Triggered,” which helped propel it to the top of the New York Times bestsellers list.
— Over $7.4 million spent at Trump-branded properties since 2017.
— At least $35.9 million spent on Trump merchandise.
— $39 million in legal and “compliance” fees. In addition to tapping the RNC and his campaign to pay legal costs during his impeachment proceedings, Trump has also relied on his political operation to cover legal costs for some aides.
— At least $15.1 million spent on the Republican National Convention. The event was supposed to be in Charlotte, North Carolina, but Trump relocated it to Jacksonville, Florida, after a dispute with North Carolina’s Democratic governor over coronavirus safety measures. The Florida event was ultimately canceled, with a mostly online convention taking its place. Disclosures show the RNC still spent $1 million at the Ritz Carlton Amelia Island, near Jacksonville.
An incredible waste of money has been the Trump campaign sending mail ballot applications to his supporters, who listen to him over his campaign. Millions have been flushed down the toilet because Trump rails on mail ballot fraud— Michael McDonald (@ElectProject) October 21, 2020