Even Donald Trump can’t understand his own dark money labyrinth

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A federal investigation has shed new light on suspicious ties between dozens of groups linked to Trump. The case, as with many others in Trumpworld, concerns a familiar name: former First Aide Corey Lewandowski.

When Lewandowski was fired from the pro-Trump superstar PAC last fall — after he was accused of sexually assaulting a major donor — the group did a clean up. When Lewandowski refused to step down, they opened a new Super PAC without him.

This great game – titled “Make America Great Again, Again!” It is the twelfth organization in the vast maze of political groups and nonprofits that includes the Trump Fundraising Network. And as for the confusion of incest, this may be one of the final inclined staircases; Federal election officials now want to know why some PAC superpayments are not properly reported.

The breadth of Trump’s network is unprecedented, said Brendan Fisher, deputy executive director of the Documented Group for Good Governance.

“It must be emphasized: This is all completely unprecedented for a former president,” Fisher told The Daily Beast. “Even if Trump kept it simple and had one PAC of hard money, one PAC, and a pair of 501(c)(3)/501(c)(4) nonprofits, there would be no parallel to any past chairperson in American history. “.

Anyone with a quick look at Trump’s personal financial disclosures will recognize this pattern.

His first disclosure revealed jobs at more than 500 entities, nearly 400 of which use his name or his initials. Trump has “organised” the chaos into an intertwined Russian puppet structure – business within companies within companies. Typically, a company is owned by more than one Trump Corporation at a time, each of which owns stock in the other Trump Corporations.

It is no accident. This structure gave the Trump Organization tremendous financial flexibility, while making it difficult to track the billions of dollars that Trump, his family, and his accountants pass through the organization.

While Trump has pushed his own life into politics, he has taken that approach with him.

The entire Trump-related apparatus consists of dozens of independent political committees and black money organizations. Almost everyone shares one of three names.

here they are:

  • Make America Great Again PAC (Transferred from previous Trump campaign)
  • Make America Great Again (Super PAC)
  • Make America great again! (superback)
  • Trump Makes America Great Again (Joint Small Fundraising Committee)
  • Make America Great Again Policies Inc (501(c)(4) nonprofit)
  • America’s First Policy Institute (501(c)(3) nonprofit)
  • America First Works (formerly America First Policies; a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization)
  • America’s First Law Firm (501(c)(3) Nonprofit)
  • America’s First Action (Superback)
  • Save America (PAC leader)
  • Save America JFC (Joint Fundraising Committee)
  • Trump Victory (Joint Committee on Multi-Dollar Fundraising)

“Previous presidents usually focus on their presidential library or start a charitable foundation, but Trump gets into the political game and raises an incredible amount of money,” Fisher said.

He. She to get shocking.

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For example, the Trump-backed PAC America First Action program generated nearly $200 million between 2017 and 2020. Its nonprofit sister company America First Works—formerly America First Policies—has been successful in sales. It raised $51.3 million for 2020, and has raised nearly $40 million in grants.

TMAGA PAC raised $884 million for 2020, with Trump winning an additional $336.3 million. These guns were mostly out of service last year, while Trump’s three new PAC companies raised $124.4 million, with another $12.5 million in MAGAA! Great CAP.

And we won’t know how many other dark nonprofits sprang up in 2021, or what they did with them, until midterm.

As Trump and the Republican Party prepare for 2024, these groups are in various stages of reform. However, this also appears to have caused internal problems. In fact, according to a filing released on Wednesday, even the Trump campaign admitted that it was not always in a position to chase its own money.

Fisher was spoiled by a number of factors, including Trump’s nomination, his relationship with the Republican National Committee, and the rift between his associates.

But Brett Capel, campaign finance and nonprofit law expert at Harmon Curran, sees something more appropriate.

“The main lesson at Watergate is ‘Look for the money,'” Capel told The Daily Beast. “It seems that this Byzantine structure of different types of legal entities — subject to different fundraising constraints and different reporting to different agencies at different submission schedules — is designed to make this task as challenging as possible.”

For example, these organizations can be divided into two groups: PACs and public fundraising committees, and “dark money” nonprofits.

PACS and joint fundraising committees are Trump political organizations. They disclose their finances to the Federal Election Commission. But not all of them follow the same deposit schedule, and depending on what kind of commission they really are, they can collect and transfer different amounts of money from different types of people and organizations. all.

Among these groups, the Save America-led PAC is now Trump’s main rival. Most of the money he collected went there. Save America JFC is a joint committee that splits donations between Save America and MAGA PAC, which was once the site of the Trump campaign. Oddly enough, MAGA PAC doesn’t get much from this joint agreement – over 90% of all donations go to Save America PAC.

And super PACs, as mentioned above, are kind of a mess.

For “dark money” nonprofits, unlike PACs, these groups file with the IRS. They don’t have to disclose donors at all (hence the “black money”). In addition, they only apply once a year, and because these deadlines are so late, it can take up to two years for the transaction to be visible to the public.

The IRS also restricts their activities. Some groups may become political (501(c)(4) groups). Some should focus on social welfare (group 501(c)(3)). The Trump Network has a good hand for both.

However, sometimes these PACs and nonprofits can overlap, even sharing staff and offices, just as America First and America First did. in the Trump administration.

And while it seems likely they’ll do it differently, as the FEC noted, things weren’t clean this time around.

Enter Lewandowski.

After Trump left the White House, the hardworking Lewandowski succeeded in regaining his good looks, and took the position of president of Make America Great Again. At the same time, he quietly founded a non-profit organization in Florida, Make America Great Again Policies Inc.

But MAGA’s policies don’t seem to work at all. There have been no reports of real activity since its inception. zero. It is a black box.

At the time, Lewandowski allegedly sexually assaulted a Trump benefactor and kicked him out of orbit. The most experienced hands have taken control of the new MAGAA! Super PAC, led by former Florida Attorney General Pam Bundy, and it’s getting more and more complicated, too.

According to a new company filing in Florida, Bundy — who also heads the first nonprofit American Policy Institute — has taken over the opaque nonprofit MAGA policies from Lewandowski, adding the following: Former Trump administration officials Rick Grenell and Matt Whitaker, also like Donald’s little sweetheart Kimberly Gilfoyle, Trump. All of these people are also on the new Super PAC payroll.

But here’s the problem: Super PACs never pay them directly. The non-profit organizations have done so, under a “cost-sharing agreement”.

On Tuesday, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) sent a letter to the super PAC saying not to cut it. The team had to explain exactly what a “cost-sharing agreement” meant, according to the letter, because what it had to present was incomplete.

Cappel said the FEC may try to determine whether the two groups are “financially and operationally independent.” He said that if the super PAC is found “connected” to the nonprofit, Policy MAGA, that means it can only collect money from people associated with the nonprofit, not the public. It will be a fatal blow, and the group will have to reorganize again.

Fisher said he wouldn’t be surprised to see more groups strategically closed, as the Trump Victory began last year.

“Closing the MAGA PACs may be easier for Trump, although he notes that the MAGA PACs appear to have valuable data on activists, which could lead to cost savings,” he said. More expensive to keep for public fundraising efforts.

However, Fisher points out, while the array of Trump-aligned groups is fundamentally unshakable, it can always get worse.

He said, “Remember that Brad Parscale also launched the super PAC ‘American Greatness’ in 2021, which never worked.

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https://www.thedailybeast.com/even-donald-trump-cant-make-sense-of-his-own-dark-money-maze?source=articles&via=rss Even Donald Trump can’t understand his dark money labyrinth

This article is automatically translated from your native language to your language. Feel free to let us know if they contain translation errors so we can correct them as soon as possible.

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