Trump-linked think tank scrambling for donations as expenses pile up: report
According to an examination of its most recent tax filings, a think tank stocked with former Donald Trump White House advisors and supporters is falling way short of reaching its financial goals and bills are starting to pile up, reports the Daily Beast.
As Roger Sollenberger of the Beast is reporting, the America First Policy Institute (AFPI) was created to establish policies for a 2024 Trump presidency as well as plan to quickly staff a new Trump administration that can hit the ground running.
However, with the former president now struggling to maintain support in light of a disastrous midterm election that was blamed in part on him, AFPI is facing a cash crunch.
"Formed last year by a cadre of Trump administration officials and known informally as a 'White House in waiting,' initially announced a first-year operating budget of $20 million. But according to its 2021 tax statement, the group raised less than three-quarters of that amount, reporting about $14.9 million in total contributions," Sollenberger wrote before adding, "That may sound like a decent haul, but more than $10 million of that amount came from 10 anonymous donors, with the largest single source giving $3 million. (AFPI is not required to make the names of its contributors public.) Trump donors accounted for $1 million, in the form of a transfer last June from his Save America leadership PAC."
"The filing also reveals about $10.8 million in expenses. Around $4.4 million went to costs associated with sustaining its sprawling staff—[Brooke] Rollins raked in about $417,000 in salary, more than double the second-highest paid official. The second-largest single line item was $2 million to a vague “other program expenses.” AFPI also dropped a little more than $600,000 on lobbying, and the group shelled out more than $2 million combined for fundraising and events," the report continued.
The report notes that the staff of AFPI is loaded with Trump hangers-on including former White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, "former acting head of the Department of Homeland Security Chad Wolf, former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe, former Small Business Administration chief Linda McMahon, former director of the National Economic Council Larry Kudlow and former Trump spiritual adviser Paula White-Cain."
Sollenberger adds "the news of AFPI’s shortfall comes as Trump himself struggled to gin up small-dollar donor support in the months ahead of his 2024 announcement. And if the former president can’t consolidate power within MAGA world, this White House in waiting may have to wait a little longer."
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