Our new book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics. Among other things, it discusses campaign finance.
In 2020, Trump scammed contributors by tricking them into multiple donations that they never intended. At The Bulwark, Tim Miller dissects a sleazy NRCC fundraising email:
Here, the NRCC now claims that it will match the contribution “5x.” Think about that for a moment: The NRCC says that if you give them $1, they’ll add another $5. But if you don’t give them a dollar, what are they going to with their $5? So this is a lie, too (a common one in political fundraising.)
But let’s keep going.
Next up we’re presented with two boxes that are pre-checked. The first makes the donation monthly recurring—the same gimmick that the Times exposed the Trump campaign for running to disastrous results. The second pre-checked box doubles your donation in order to grant you “Trump Patriot Status.”
And if you can believe it, there’s an even worse version of this running on the NRCC’s fundraising page, where they threaten to tell Trump that the reader is a “DEFECTOR” if they uncheck the box for recurring donations:
I’m sure there’s some formal legal difference between the NRCC tricking someone into signing up for a nonexistent social media site—and then having a default box opting them in to both double their pledged amount and make it recurring—and the criminal advance-fee scams made famous by the imaginary Nigerian princes.
But as a moral matter, the difference is awfully hard to suss out.