Trump duped his supporters into unwittingly giving weekly contributions that totaled over $64 million and refunds have been demanded
Contributors had to wade through a fine-print disclaimer and manually uncheck a box to opt out.
As the election neared, the Trump team made that disclaimer increasingly opaque, an investigation by The New York Times showed. It introduced a second prechecked box, known internally as a “money bomb,” that doubled a person’s contribution. Eventually its solicitations featured lines of text in bold and capital letters that overwhelmed the opt-out language.
The tactic ensnared scores of unsuspecting Trump loyalists — retirees, military veterans, nurses and even experienced political operatives. Soon, banks and credit card companies were inundated with fraud complaints from the president’s own supporters about donations they had not intended to make, sometimes for thousands of dollars.
Trump was broke, so he scammed his supporters out of tens of millions of dollars to keep his campaign afloat. According to The Times, at its peak, one-third of all fraud complaints to banks were from supporters of Trump’s campaign who were scammed. The campaign had to issue refunds to 10.7% of its donors.
It was widely reported that Trump’s election challenge was a con to raise money for his PAC, but the idea that his campaign wasted a billion dollars in less than a year, and they responded by fraudulently bilking Trump’s supporters of tens of millions of dollars is the best argument that might ever be made for campaign finance reform.
Campaign finance reform is not just getting rid of Citizens United and dark money out of politics. It is also ending the corruption and fraud that comes with a campaign finance system that is virtually lawless and robbing the people of their voice in the electoral process.
The Trump cons are endless, and his fundraising scam showed why he must be indicted and kept away from ever being able to run for office again.
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Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association