- Donald Trump has raised tens of millions of dollars for his post-presidential political committees.
- Some of Trump’s text and email solicitations are patently false.
- A final text message tells supporters they have a “membership payment” due – and it’s not true.
Even by his own low standards, Donald Trump’s latest political fundraising solicitation is particularly brazen.
“Your membership invoice is ready for viewing and your Trump membership payment is scheduled for 10/4/2022. Confirm here: “A Trump political committee has texted supporters (and at least two Insider reporters ) on the morning of October 4 in a post that sure freaked out more than a sight of his fiscally conservative cronies.
Trump’s message is also blatantly false — and potentially abusive.
For starters, the former president’s joint Save America fundraising committee — a group encompassing his post-presidential political committees Save America and Make America Great Again PAC — has scheduled no such payout. The committee lacks information on the bank accounts of its supporters and it is illegal to charge someone’s credit card without their prior authorization.
There is also no “membership invoice” for donors, as Trump’s committee does not send invoices to donors.
Why? Because there is no Trump donor membership program per se, as Insider’s Madison Hall once reported in an article about how Trump endlessly offers his supporters imaginary memberships, incentives, rewards and trinkets.
Trump’s political operation has also lambasted MAGA Republicans recently with other bogus fundraising missives.
One implies too good to be true matching gift system. Then there is a august anxiety text message warned that “the official voter verification campaign is PERIMETER” and provided a link to “Correct Record”. Click it and Trump’s team will eventually ask you for money – despite the suggestion that your right to vote in the election has somehow been compromised.
For Trump supporters who choose to donate, many are surprised to learn (weeks or months after the fact) that Trump political committees have signed them up for weekly or monthly contributions and additional donations – a practice misleading than Shane Goldmacher of the New York Times chronicthe leaders of the Federal Election Commission unanimously sentencedand some members of Congress have tried to ban.
Misleading political fundraising messages are not a new phenomenon. That’s not strictly the domain of Republicans, either — Democrats serve up their share of bupkis, too.
Trump’s messages, however, uniquely exploit for financial gain some of his supporters’ deepest fears: financial insecurity, election integrity, exclusion from the MAGA club.
Many potential Trump donors are retirees of modest means — a growing pool of donors, according to an Insider analysis of federal campaign finance disclosures. And some older Americans are experiencing what the federal Consumer Financial Projection Bureau describes as “diminished financial capability” — a “diminished ability in a person to manage their money and financial assets to serve their best interests.”
These seniors may take the former president’s messages at face value and contribute money not because they support Trump, but because they think withholding a donation will lead to something serious. what will happen to them.
“The consequences are real in that the most vulnerable people are most likely to be harmed because they are most likely to believe them,” said Erin Chlopak, senior director of campaign finance for the Campaign. Nonpartisan legal center that previously ran the policy division of the Federal Election Commission. “It’s easy for people to fall victim to these kinds of deceptive practices.”
A 2021 FBI report on Elder Fraud notes that “the number of elderly victims has increased at an alarming rate,” and the Federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau warns that “loss of money or property to scams, fraud and exploitation can be particularly devastating for the elderly, who may not be able to regain what they have lost.”
But it’s difficult for any government entity to crack down on political fundraising messages such as those sent by Trump committees, Chlopak said, noting that political speech — even if misleading — is heavily protected by the 1st amendment to the Constitution in a commercial manner. advertisements are not.
“These 1st Amendment protections make it difficult, if not impossible, to regulate this kind of political speech,” she said.
Consider, for example, that nothing came of Trump’s fundraising for a non-existent “election defense fund” despite the fact that the US House of Representatives Select Committee on January 6 considered carefully the question earlier this year.
Meanwhile, Trump continues to fundraise for his political committees, which has allowed him to finance many expenses — from legal fees and staff salaries to promoting Republican candidates for Congress and organizing his own rallies in the arenas.
Grease from contributions collected through emails and text messages, Save America said it has nearly $92.8 million in cash as of Aug. 31, according to Federal Election Commission records. Make America Great Again PAC reported about $2.4 million to June 30.
Trump, whose political committees did not immediately return requests for comment, is compiling that money while openly flirting with — but not officially declaring — running for president again in 2024.
If Trump runs despite the various legal risks he faces, federal law would require him to create another political committee – one for his presidential campaign – that would help him raise the hundreds of millions of dollars he would need to run. in an extended election.