Republicans in war with fundraising firm over plan to 'siphon' off millions in donations

Republicans in war with fundraising firm over plan to 'siphon' off millions in donations
Mitch McConnell/Shutterstock

Republican Party leaders already concerned about the 2024 general election where they might be saddled with an indicted former president at the top of the ticket have new worries about financing campaigns with less money than they would like.

According to a report from the Washington Post, Republicans are in a squabble with WinRed, the private for-profit company which has been the central hub for almost all online donations flowing into the GOP.

At issue is a demand by WinRed to increase fees they had rolled back previously and now want to recoup again citing higher expenses.

That, in turn, the Post reports, could take millions in much-needed campaign dollars out of the pockets of candidates in what is expected to be a high-turnout election tied to Trump's possible candidacy and hot-button issues like the availability of abortion and the proliferation of high powered weapons being used in mass shootings.

As the Post's Shane Goldmacher is reporting, "Party leaders have risen up in opposition to the plan to raise prices, which would siphon millions of dollars from G.O.P. campaigns less than 20 months after the company, WinRed, had said its finances were robust enough to forego an extra fee on every transaction," adding, "Mr. [Gerrit] Lansing’s company, a private for-profit firm responsible for processing almost all online Republican political donations, charges 3.94 percent of almost every donation made online. But he said it wasn’t enough, citing an unforeseen slowdown in online G.O.P. giving last year and also plans to broaden WinRed’s suite of services. He moved to impose a 30-cent transaction fee on each of the tens of millions of coming contributions in the 2024 race, according to several people directly involved in or briefed on the conversations."

That has led to a revolt from Republicans who are now questioning their decision four years ago to let WinRed take control which has now puts them in a corner with the 2024 election fast approaching.

According to the report: "Huge sums are involved. There were nearly 31.2 million donations made on WinRed during the 2022 federal elections, worth nearly $1.2 billion. The upcoming presidential cycle could easily double that," adding that WinRed was supposed be one of the "enduring" legacies of Donald Trump when it was proposed in 2019.

Adding, "Mr. Trump, his son-in-law Jared Kushner and Mr. Trump’s campaign manager at the time, Brad Parscale, were all personally involved," the Post is reporting, "In recent weeks, Mr. Lansing told party officials that WinRed had suffered financially in 2022 as a result of diminished Republican giving and that he needed to reimpose a per-transaction fee ahead of 2024 to continue broader investments in technology."

Add to that WinRed is the subject of multiple investigations, with the Post reporting, "WinRed faces other unique pressures, including an investigation by multiple state attorneys general into the firm’s use of prechecked boxes that automatically signed up donors to make recurring donations unless they opted out," adding, "WinRed sued to block subpoenas but lost a key legal battle in February when the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the investigation could proceed in Minnesota. In New York, a December filing from the state attorney general, Letitia James, that demanded compliance with a subpoena gave a glimpse into the internal documents her office has already obtained."

You can read more here.

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