President Donald Trump will not be able to rely on his most loyal donors, just when he needs them the most.
The records of the Federal Election Commission show that as of the end of July, hundreds of supporters who have been paying for the Trump campaign have reached the maximum legally allowed donation amount, and hundreds more are dangerously close to the donation limit.
In a letter to the Trump campaign last month, FEC flagged 35,000 donations from 1,045 donors totaling $4.56 million, including one of Trump’s own ambassadors, a Chinese philanthropist , And a used car dealer in Memphis.
For Trump, the timing may not be worse. He revealed in an August document that his campaign raised almost no more funds than expenditures, and raised funds in less than two months. Raising funds at the bank lags far behind the campaign of former Vice President Joe Biden. Leave before the election. Although the most recent campaign raised about 1
Campaign finance expert and attorney Brett Kappel of the Washington DC company Harmon Curran said that the letter, including 855 pages of donations deemed excessive by the FEC, is currently on an unprecedented scale in the campaign. This is likely to be the result of Trump’s unprecedented decision to start his re-election campaign on the same day he was sworn in.
“One of the issues with starting your reelection campaign on the day of the inauguration is that your most loyal small donors (small donors who have signed up to donate $50 or $100 a week) will reach the $5,600 limit long before the next election. “Said. For Biden, this is not a problem. Only very few of his supporters have been exhausted, and he can return to them again and again until the election. “
In contrast, Biden’s campaign was required to return some of the donations that Trump’s campaign might have to return. According to the analysis of the data by the Daily Beast, the FEC letter identified 237 Trump donors, and their total donations in this election cycle reached US$5,600 or more. A similar letter sent to the Biden movement last week also identified 31 donors who have reached the threshold.
Biden spokesperson Andrew Bates said: “Like everything else in his life-whether it is the growing economy he inherited from the Obama-Biden administration or his own legacy-Donald Trump wasted his huge opportunity to raise funds for his campaign.” “At the same time, our grassroots masters broke the record.”
One of Trump’s excessive donations is Trump’s ambassador to the Netherlands and former ninth Congressman from Michigan, Pete Hoekstra. He donated $2,800 twice in June, and then donated $800 again in July.
Donors can only provide $5,600 to one candidate per election cycle: $2,800 per primary student; $2,800 per general election. Thereafter, any money used for the election shall be refunded. The event has returned $2,800 to Hoekstra in July.
The Trump campaign did not respond to a request for comment on the matter, but Hawkestra said in an email that his donation frenzy was just one point.
He said in an email: “When I donate on the Internet, I have to click the donate button twice, and then donate again.” “Soon after, my wife checked our credit card balance and noticed Two donations. [I] The campaign was contacted and they dropped one of the charges. “
However, the itchy fingers of Hawkestra seemed to be an aberration. Many of the donations that must be refunded are made over and over again in increments of $25 to $100 by the same person, in many cases retirees, a point that the Trump campaign quickly emphasized.
The Trump campaign spokesperson said: “Donors go all out to fulfill the president’s promise and keep their promise to make our country great. After four years of dedication to the American people, President Trump’s supporters are Passion as always.”
For example, Orlando retiree Pauline Vennum has donated 330 times since January 2018, usually about $30 at a time. According to the FEC letter, as of the end of June, she had provided US$6,700.36, which far exceeded the legal limit.
When contacted by phone, she said: “Well, I don’t know the limit.” “I donated with my mobile phone. I have no tracking.”
According to FEC records, since November 2017, Daphne Dyer, a retiree from Beaumont, Texas, has conducted nearly 150 campaigns with Trump, mainly donating no more than $75. She reached her limit earlier this year, but continues to try to donate. As of the end of June, the total donation was US$6,736. Retired Miami doctor Alan Altman made his first donation of $75 to Trump’s campaign in November 2017. But he crossed the legal limit earlier this summer, so he will not be able to donate anymore. Dyer and Altman could not be reached for comment.
Others cross the line. A wealthy Virginia investor, David Gladstone, is a large Republican donation that has donated more than $14,000, almost three times the legal limit. He Daofeng, a Chinese philanthropist who runs a multi-million dollar charitable foundation in the District of Columbia, donated US$12,350. Neither Gladstone nor He submitted the request for comment to their organization.
Jeffery Batson, a retiree from Havelock, North Carolina, provided up to $12,402 out of 24 independent donations between March and June. But he said in a telephone interview that it was not him at all. He said he might vote for Trump, but he would never donate. His card number was stolen.
He said: “That was someone hacking into my damn bank account and doing something like that.” “Someone took my card and made a purchase. I’ve been fighting with the bank for my money.”
He added: “I don’t donate to those scammers.” “Tell them, if you talk to them, you can give me my money.”
Steve Kieffer, a retiree from Boca Raton, Florida, donated $5,600 in four separate donations, all earmarked for the main campaign, plus $750, totaling more than 23,000 Dollar. The Trump campaign refunded two of his donations in July. Kiefer could not be reached for comment.
Ciara Torres-Spelliscy, a professor of electoral law at Stetson University, said that in a sense, pushing donors to the limit does show that fundraising activities are successful, but only so many times can you ask for hard money before you get hard money. Similar amounts. limit.
She said: “Obviously, if you get the greatest return from any donor, then this is the campaign’s successful fundraising activity.” “But you do have the potential to reach the top with large donors.”
It is not uncommon for donors to provide more than allowed amounts and be marked by FEC. After all, like Pauline Vennum, many donors don’t even know the FEC limit or track the amount of donations in the election cycle. Campaigns of all sizes will get such FEC letters. For example, Senator Cory Gardner (Cory Gardner) was recently asked to run for the Colorado Senate, demanding that the money be returned to NFL Hall of Famer John Elway (John Elway).
The hundreds of Trump donations flagged by the FEC can be boiled down to simple bookkeeping errors. For example, if someone donates more than $2,800 for a primary election, the campaign can reassign the remaining funds to the general election as long as the total amount of donations to the general election also remains below $2,800. Therefore, if they reassign donations within 60 days and notify the donors, the campaign can keep a lot of money.
Given the generally accepted sloppy bookkeeping of the Trump campaign, this is not surprising, which was blamed on former campaign leader Brad Parscale. It is also obvious in the FEC letter.
For example, an excess donation was apparently provided by a used car dealership in Memphis called Smith Smiths, but was classified as a personal donation from Smith Smiths Imports. Similarly, Senator Roy Blunt’s PAC, relying on two donations of $5,000 from the Your Faith Foundation or ROYB Foundation, seems to be classified as a non-existent Missouri named Roy B. Fund. Personal donation of the man.
With all of this in mind, Capel, a campaign finance expert, predicts that after everything has been said, Trump’s campaign finances may be audited. After an audit of President Barack Obama’s first election campaign in 2012, FEC imposed a $375,000 fine on the campaign committee Obama for the United States for failing to return excessive donations exceeding $1 million in time.