Remember when the Hollywood Reporter revealed that Donald Trump’s campaign had hired actors to attend Trump’s announcement event held at Trump Tower on June 16 and Donald Trump’s team denied this? I’m sure you will be shocked to learn that it’s true. Yes, an FEC document confirmed it.
The Trump campaign won’t get in trouble for this, the FEC concluded, but yes they used a casting agency called The Extra Mile to pay extras to attend Donald Trump’s announcement. Here’s the highlights from the FEC doc:
SUBJECT: The complaint alleged that the Committee paid actors to attend Trump’s candidacy announcement but failed to disclose payments to the actors or the companies that allegedly hired them, or to report a debt or obligations to Gotham, one of the companies involved with running the announcement event. Consequently, Gotham and Extra Mile, the other company allegedly involved with hiring the actors, may have made and Trump and the Committee may have accepted prohibited or excessive contributions. Trump was a 2016 candidate for United States President.
DISPOSITION: The Commission exercised its prosecutorial discretion and dismissed the allegation that the Committee failed to report debt to Gotham, in light of the relatively modest amount at issue. The Commission closed the file in connection with the remaining allegations.
We believe that the service at issue here — assembling a crowd of attendees for a candidacy announcement — provided a benefit to the Trump campaign…
In this matter, the available information indicates that the Committee, retained Gotham as an event consultant, and Gotham, in turn, subcontracted with Extra Mile to provide extra administrative support at Trump’s announcement, including the provision of at least some of the rally crowd.
Extra Mile issued a casting call e-mail for actors “to wear t-shirts and carry signs and help cheer [Trump] in support of his announcement” in exchange for a payment of S50.
Also noted in the papers is further indication of efforts to make the crowd look bigger, “Another press report indicated that campaign staff also persuaded tourists in the area to be part of the crowd.”
Yes, the Extra Mile is a casting agency. They get “background actors”, known as extras, work. “Extra Mile is an ideal resource for casting directors and producers looking to book background actors in feature films, television, commercials, music videos, industrials, promotional videos and print jobs.”
So the real point here is President Donald Trump had to pay extras to attend his announcement event. The Cleveland RNC was not a huge event. But in between at his rallies, Trump had what seemed often like a lot of support. Today at the inauguration, it was so sparsely attended it caught the notice of all journalists.
Donald Trump’s crowd size was one-seventh of President Obama’s crowd size in 2009. Dan Gross provided the numbers: Trump 2017: 250,000, Obama 2013: 1,000,000, Obama 2009: 1,800,000.
Donald Trump only drew 250,000 people to D.C. today and he had to pay people to attend his announcement event. So where did all of the people from his rallies go?
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.