Trump formed a PAC to fight the 'stolen' election. An expert says the president is using it to 'fleece his supporters'
President Donald Trump is now raising money to fund his baseless legal battle as he claims the presidential election was "stolen" by Democrats. Up until Tuesday, the Trump campaign claimed all of the funds raised were going to be designated for paying off the campaign's debts.
Trump supporters received emails aggressively urging them to donate to the president's legal fund so he has the "resources" needed to fight the election results. "THE DEMOCRATS WANT TO STEAL THIS ELECTION!" the Trump campaign said in its email. "We can't allow the Left-wing MOB to undermine our election."
On Tuesday morning, a very small disclaimer has been added to those emails and it raises a lot of questions about how those funds will be used going forward.
According to Talking Points Memo, the disclaimer "lays out that 60 percent of the contributions will first go to the new PAC, up to the maximum contribution of $5,000. The remaining 40 percent goes to the RNC up to the maximum $35,500. If that first 60 percent of the donation exceeds $5,000 the remnants go to the campaign's 'recount account'; if the 40 percent exceeds the $35,500 RNC maximum, only then does it go to the RNC's legal defense fund."
So, where is the money going? Trump has a newly formed political action committee (PAC) known as "Save America," according to its recent filings with the Federal Election Commission. But the PAC is not for the purpose Trump is portraying.
"Donors who are giving in response to this urgent fundraising message to help defend the integrity of our election are actually helping fund Trump's post-presidential political vehicle," Brendan Fischer, director of federal reform at the Campaign Legal Center, told TPM.
Paul S. Ryan, vice president of policy and litigation at Common Cause, weighed in on Trump's funneling of funds and what he believes Trump's plan is going forward. He also condemned PACs as he noted that they are "'notorious' for being abused as slush funds."
"Not a penny is dedicated to a legal expense account unless donors have maxed out their contributions to the first two committees, $5,000 to the leadership PAC and $35,500 to the RNC," Ryan said. "He's saying that he needs donors' money for election-challenge litigation, but he's putting the money into an account to be used for his political future."
He added, "This is a way that he can fleece his supporters to support his own lifestyle for the next few years regardless of whether he even runs in 2024."