Donald Trump bombards his supporters with emails. In one sent on Friday, he accused prosecutor Fani Willis, who has provoked her fourth indictment this week, of persecuting him to gain popularity and raise money for his re-election campaign as prosecutor. Interestingly, right after those criticisms, at the end of that same message, Trump himself passed the cap. His email included multiple links to receive contributions, suggesting amounts from $1 to $250. The billionaire former president is using the money he has been receiving from citizens as political donations to pay tens of millions of dollars to pay for his legal expenses, according to the documents they have registered with the electoral authorities.
Trump’s practice was the focus of the attention of the members of the House of Representatives committee that investigated the assault on the Capitol on January 6, 2021. Their thesis was that the former president asked for money from small donors to combat an alleged electoral pot hole that he knew that it was a hoax and that, therefore, it could constitute a fraud, even more so considering that the money was not used for the promised purposes. The appeal to alleged electoral rigging was a “marketing tactic,” the head of digital advertising for his campaign admitted to the commission. “It was not only the Big Lie, but also the Big Scam”, said Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a commission member.
Special prosecutor Jack Smith, who has accused Trump of four federal crimes for his attempt to subvert the electoral result, also investigated the origin and destination of the money and the messages used to attract funds, but finally did not include any in his charge sheet. accusation about it. It follows that even if Trump’s conduct was ethically questionable and on the edge of the law, he has not been able to put together a solid donation fraud case to go before a jury, at least not yet.
Trump’s refusal to admit defeat in the 2020 presidential election to Joe Biden became big business very quickly. Claiming he needed money to prove alleged voter fraud, Republican voters eager for his re-election handed him tens of millions of dollars in the weeks after the vote. Trump kept up the hoax and continued making money.
The defeated candidate founded a political action committee (PAC) to receive the money, called Save America, which has raised more than $150 million (138 million euros) since then. It is of the “leadership PAC” type, with which there is more leeway for the use of its funds, which do not necessarily have to be allocated to electoral expenses. That loophole is what makes it difficult to prosecute Trump for diverting the funds to his personal purposes.
Trump used some of that money to support some of his favorite candidates in last November’s midterm elections, but also to deal with his legal problems. An analysis of the reports registered with the electoral authority cited by AP indicates that Trump’s political committees have paid at least $59 million since 2021 to more than 100 lawyers and law firms. Other media place the figure at around 40 million.
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In any case, the bill will continue to rise. The former president faces four complex criminal charges and several civil cases, many of them in his early days. Trump committees have paid for the defense and legal advice of several co-defendants and witnesses in the open cases, which also raises questions about potential conflicts of interest.
The former president has used his successive charges to speed up his fundraising campaign. With the first appearance before a New York court, donations skyrocketed. Some 120,000 supporters forked over four million dollars in 24 hours. They also rebounded after the Mar-a-Lago classified papers indictment. There is still no data on what happened after the two charges in the last month.
Still, Trump’s electoral finances are beginning to suffer from so much legal spending. The former president has a joint fundraising committee, the aforementioned PAC Save America, the official campaign committee (Donald J. Trump for president 2024, Inc) and the Super PAC MAGA Inc, which have fewer fundraising limitations. According to an analysis of the data provided to the Federal Electoral Commission by these entities carried out by EL PAÍS, the joint cash position has gone from 79.1 million dollars at the end of 2022 to 62.6 million at the end of the first semester. The Trump campaign spends more than it takes in.
Actually, for now the former president needs the money more for the courts than for the campaign. He has a comfortable lead in the primary polls, more than 35 points over his immediate rival, Ron DeSantis, who has a box full of cash but is foundering on the campaign trail.
Trump is so sure of his victory that he plans to stand up to the rest of the Republican candidates in the first debate of the primaries, scheduled for this Wednesday. According to the US media, the former president plans to counterprogram the debate by giving an interview to the controversial presenter Tucker Carlson. It’s quite an affront not only to the Republican National Committee, which organizes him and has urged Trump to attend, but also to FOX, which fired Carlson in April following a defamation lawsuit that cost the network nearly $800 million. of dollars.
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