'A serious risk of prosecution': Trump's PAC fundraising and spending questioned by legal experts
According to a report from the Guardian, financial information released by political action committees (PACs) linked to Donald Trump are being scrutinized by critics and legal experts alike who see evidence that the former president may be engaged in fraud as he amasses millions of dollars.
As the Guardian's Peter Stone writes, Trump has "has built an arsenal of political committees and nonprofit groups, staffed with dozens of ex-administration officials and loyalists" who are now using his election loss to rake in millions for the purported reason of contesting his loss in the courts, yet there are few dollars being spent on lawyers and a lot of questions about what the money is being used for.
Focusing on Trump's "Save America" PAC, the report states, it "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."
Additionally, Trump is now touting a lawsuit --and asking for donations to finance it -- against Facebook, Google and Twitter which experts claim looks like another fundraising "ploy" which is leading to even more questions.
According to Paul S. Ryan, vice-president of policy and litigation with Common Cause, "Donald Trump is a one-man scam Pac. Bait-and-switch is among his favorite fundraising tactics. This time he's got the unlimited dark money group America First Policy Institute in on the racket."
Adav Noti, a former associate general counsel at the Federal Election Commission, concurred, explaining, "The president deceived his donors. He asked them to give money so he could contest the election results, but then he spent their contributions to pay off unrelated debts," before adding, "That's dangerously close to fraud. If a regular charity – or an individual who didn't happen to be president of the United States – had raised tens of millions of dollars through that sort of deception, they would face a serious risk of prosecution."
With the Guardian's Stone writing, "Veteran campaign finance analysts say that the bevy of Trump-linked groups launched since his defeat raise new questions about his motives and political intentions," Sheila Krumholz, who leads the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics added, "Trump's aggressive fundraising, using a variety of committees and surrogates, raises questions about whether his continual hints at running in 2024 is primarily a ploy for donations. Trump may be more interested in fundraising than actually running, especially given how unprecedented his post-loss fundraising is."
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