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 intendShane Goldmacher and Rachel Shorey report that Trump committees have nearly $102 million in cash on hand -- more than each of the party committees.
The next strongest online fund-raiser among Republican politicians was Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, who delivered the G.O.P. response to President Biden’s first address to Congress in the spring. Mr. Scott raised $7.8 million online.
Mr. Trump’s advisers inaccurately announced on Saturday that “his affiliated political committees raised nearly $82 million” in the first six months of 2021.
That figure counted at least $23 million in transfers to his new political action committees that had actually been raised last year in other Trump-affiliated accounts, according to an analysis of federal filings.
Jason Miller, a spokesman for Mr. Trump, defended the operation’s accounting. “If we didn’t announce this entire amount, you’d be asking why we’re ignoring all of this period’s receipts,” he said of the transfers.
All told, WinRed’s filings showed that Mr. Trump had collected more than $56 million online into various accounts in the first six months of the year.
The biggest share, $34.3 million, came into a shared account with the Republican National Committee, which is known as the Trump Make America Great Again Committee; Mr. Trump’s political action committee is set to receive 75 percent of what went into the shared account, and the party received 25 percent.
In addition, Mr. Trump raised more than $21 million online directly into two new Save America political action committees that he controls.
Just days after his defeat last November, Trump launched a new political action committee, dubbed Save America, that together with his campaign and the Republican National Committee quickly raked in tens of millions of dollars through text and email appeals for a Trump “election defense fund”, ostensibly to fight the results with baseless lawsuits alleging fraud.
The fledgling Pac had raised a whopping $31.5m by year’s end, but Save America spent nothing on legal expenses in this same period, according to public records. Run by Trump’s 2016 campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, Save America only spent $340,000 on fundraising expenses last year.
In another move, Trump last month announced he was filing class-action lawsuits against Facebook, Google and Twitter, alleging “censorship” due to bans by the platforms after the 6 January Capitol attack that Trump helped stoke. But the move prompted several legal experts to pan the lawsuits as frivolous and a fundraising ploy.
Trump’s new legal stratagem raised red flags, in part because he teamed up with America First Policy Institute (AFPI), a non-profit group led by ex-White House official Brooke Rollins. At a press briefing with Trump, Rollins publicly told supporters they could “join the lawsuit” by signing up on a website, takeonbigtech.org, a claim belied by details on the website which featured a red button with the words “DONATE to AFPI”.
“Donald Trump is a one-man scam Pac,” said Paul S Ryan, vice-president of policy and litigation with Common Cause. “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.”