When Donald Trump officially announced on Tuesday that he would run for president again in 2024, fundraising race reinstall.
But in many ways, That race never stops. The former president was raise money non-stop over the past year, and while his massive war chest may seem like an asset, it can actually cause some liability as well — especially as Trump tries to keep it under control. restrain his grip on a Republicans are increasingly worried.
The biggest problem for Trump is that he can’t start his campaign with anyone the money he is raising into his top Save America leadership PACwhich would otherwise give him a scary 70 million USD favorable.
There is a hard rule for candidates to use leadership PACs to support their own political efforts, so the Trump campaign must not touch any of that money. . And that fact led him to adopt some creative, confusing and maybe illegal way to move it around.
First, Trump has formed a new campaign committee for his 2024 re-election bid—”Donald J. Trump running for President 2024.” That should give the hope of a term a more or less obvious head start in fundraising, albeit with some key structural benefits over his rivals.
One of those advantages is the extensive donor contact list that Trump has built up over the years. Trump has used that information to raise funds since leaving the White House, but he has had to find a way for the campaign to get that valuable data—and he doesn’t want to have to pay for it.
The Trump team will address that with a joint fundraising committee, called “Trump’s Joint Fundraising Committee to Save America.” (Not to be confused with Save America, of course, or his Save America General Fundraising Committee.) That new group will serve to connect the new campaign to Save America, opening up access to funding data. have that value.
But that still leaves the biggest question unanswered. Even after thwarting donors with Save America fundraising requests for the past two years—including through automatic recurring donation program and potentially deceptive promises—Trump now finds himself unable to put that money where he needs it most. He will have to start fresh, while also finding ways to boost and sustain a small dollar base that is coming from an already dangerous and midterm flashback. exhausted.
Jordan Libowitz, communications director for Washington-based government watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics, explains that despite Trump’s huge bank holdings — with nearly three times more cash on hand than he does. Republican National Committee — Trump stepped in.
“It goes back to what I find really basic: Donald Trump doesn’t like spending money on anything that isn’t Donald Trump — and he doesn’t even like to spend his own money on anything that isn’t Donald Trump,” says Libowitz. Donald Trump”. . “He likes to spend other people’s money.”
Over the past two years, Trump has chosen to donate money to his personal leadership PAC, which Libowitz describes as “just a black fund”.
But Recent data shows that Trump’s once mighty army of small dollar donors may not be able and willing to give him what he needs.
“That’s a real concern,” Libowitz said. “They are not big donors. They only have so much money, and they’ve been asked to hand it over over and over for years now.”
While Trump has spent most of the past two years licking his wounds at his Mar-a-Lago resort, he has also drained his low-dollar donors. And it’s getting harder and harder to convince them to give up their money. Trump’s most recent campaign finance filings reveal total losses more than 13 million USDand every dollar he makes is now almost wiped out by fundraising expenses alone.
To solve that problem, Trump’s allies created super PACs to solicit funds from wealthy backers in unlimited amounts.
But that creates another headache, because the committees are really starting to pile up.
The entire Trump-linked apparatus has at least nine separate running political committees. But because they often reuse the same names, it’s annoying to keep track of them. And all of these old military commissions still have the money, too — more than $10 million in total, even though Trump can’t claim all of it.
Here they are, in all their homonymous glory:
- Donald J. Trump running for President 2024
- Trump’s Joint Fundraising Committee to Save America
- Save America (PAC leader; 69.7 million USD in the bank)
- Make America Great Again PAC (converted from old Trump campaign; 1.1 million USD in the bank)
- Save America Joint Fundraising Committee (split between Save America and MAGA PAC; 6.3 million USD in the bank)
- Make America Great Again, Inc. (new super PAC; 23.4 million USD in the bank)
- Action Make America Great Again (old super PAC created by Corey Lewandowski; basically no longer exists, but with $725,000 in the bank)
- Make America Great Again, Again! Inc. (super PAC was created after Lewandowski was fired for allegedly sexually assaulted a sponsor; report scroll down; 1.6 million USD in the bank)
- Trump Make America Great Again (the small dollar joint fundraising committee between the old campaign and the Republican National Committee; report started ending last year; 5.4 million USD in the bank)
- America First Action (old super PAC; report scroll down; 1.5 million USD in the bank)
- Trump Victory (high dollar joint fundraising committee between old campaign and RNC; supposedly coming to an end; 1.8 million USD in the bank)
In total, these committees have $111.5 million. And campaign finance rules mean the new Trump campaign won’t be allowed to use most of that money—including all that PAC super-fund cash.
But that doesn’t mean he won’t try to circumvent those rules. In fact, it looks like he tried to do just that.
The first indicator appeared last month, when the Save America PAC leadership transferred a whopping 20 million dollars to the new super PAC Make America Great Again Inc. (MAGA Inc.).
Movement raised eyebrows Among legal observers, it appears Trump is trying to kickstart his campaign by funding a super PAC that will support him in the future. The only problem: It’s against the law.
Brendan Fischer, deputy director of the good government watchdog Documented, told The Daily Beast that, when the midterm elections were over, it was “even clearer” that MAGA Inc.’s super PAC. “never really helped other candidates but always helped Trump.”
“When it comes to helping Republicans in the midterm elections, MAGA Inc. almost a bankruptcy. It’s been spending money late on already saturated races, and the roughly $16 million it spent may not even make it into the top 20 outside spending pools,” Fischer said, pointing out that all of this This happened while Save America’s bank account was full. money he could have spent on those races.
However, Fischer said, because Save America’s funds could not be used to support Trump’s presidential campaign, he transferred the money to MAGA Inc.
“The Super PAC spent a relatively small amount in the final stages of the midterm elections, and the rest will almost certainly be spent supporting Trump’s 2024 campaign,” he said.
On Monday, the nonpartisan government watchdog’s Campaign Legal Center submitted a complaint with the FEC, accusing Trump of breaking the law on the eve of his major announcement.
Saurav Ghosh, CLC’s director of federal campaign finance reform, told The Daily Beast that Trump clearly wants to be able to use the money he’s raised for himself, but the law stands in the way of that.
Those rules of coordination, Ghosh said, are “often overtly trampled by candidates, especially those running for president.”
“Presidential candidates want to stand up and start with as big a war chest as possible. It’s clear that Trump viewed Save America as a war chest from the very beginning and his legal team got together to find a way to make it available day one,” Ghosh said. “Unfortunately, the law does not take into account when you announce you will run, but when you decide that you will run. So the decision to transfer all of this money is against the law.”
All of this, however, leaves Trump with an enviable problem of what to do with his nearly $70 million in Save America funds — most of which he has raised. behind the big lieand can basically spend on anything but your own campaign.
“It’s really a question of what he’s going to do next,” Ghosh said. “You can only spend so much money going directly to other candidates and organizing events, but eventually you will run out of ways to spend the money. At this point, the midterm exam is over and the only thing he can do for advertising is for himself. So what he’s doing is putting it in a medium that can buy ads for Donald Trump and attack his opponents.”
Libowitz echoed that point and said Save America’s millions of dollars, which can go directly to campaigns and spent on political ads for other candidates, could act as a ” stick and carrot”—to encourage allies and intimidate opponents.
For those opponents, Trump’s main concern, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, stumbles across a similar problem to Trump’s.
“DeSantis is raising this ridiculous amount of money into his state PAC, apparently given to him by donors with the understanding that he will run for president,” Ghosh said. Like Trump, DeSantis couldn’t put that money into a federal presidential campaign, and he couldn’t pass it on to a pro-DeSantis super PAC.
“Nobody is going to do this, but you can give a refund and ask those donors to give it to a committee you have set up for a federal campaign,” Ghosh said. “But you can’t transfer money anywhere you want.”