Presidential races

Big-name donors join Trump fundraising team

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Donald Trump, who needs to rapidly raise money for the general election, now has a team of the Republican establishment’s biggest donors and fundraisers in his corner. 

Trump and Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Reince Priebus announced in a statement Tuesday that they have signed onto their fundraising efforts some of the most prolific donors and fundraisers in conservative politics.
{mosads}The big name recruits include Woody Johnson — who owns the New York Jets and was a top fundraiser for former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and previous GOP nominees Mitt Romney and Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) — and Diane Hendricks, who is one of the most sought-after mega-donors in Republican politics. 
Hendricks, a Wisconsin-based roofing tycoon, has an estimated net worth of $4.8 billion, according to Forbes. She gave $5 million to a super-PAC supporting the failed presidential campaign of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. And since 2014, she has given at least $3 million to the political arm of the conservative donor network helmed by billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch, according to Federal Election Commission (FEC) records.
“This is an impressive leadership team comprised of talented individuals working together to unite the party and win what will be the most important election of our lifetime,” Trump said in a statement Tuesday.
“The money raised is an investment in the Republican Party and the future of our country, which, as president, I am going to make better and stronger than ever before.”
The Trump Victory Committee, as the joint committee between the party and the Trump campaign is branded, has already begun fundraising and is recruiting finance chairs for all 50 states, the RNC statement said. 
On Wednesday, the committee will host its first fundraiser at the Los Angeles home of one of Trump’s friend, the multimillionaire investor Thomas Barrack.
And while it’s a coup for Trump to land a billionaire donor like Hendricks, it’s perhaps even more consequential for the RNC and its presumptive nominee to recruit into its fold prominent GOP donor-fundraisers such as Mel Sembler, Ray Washburne, Ronald Weiser and Kelly and Joe Craft. 
They are among the best-known and most-respected fundraisers in conservative politics, and many have deep ties to the Bush family — the closest rivals to the Clintons in U.S. political fundraising today. 
They will likely help normalize Trump and calm concerns that remain among the donor community, particularly concerning some of Trump’s more controversial positions, including his opposition to trade deals and his plans to round up and deport 11 million illegal immigrants.
Sembler is a longtime Bush family ally who served as ambassador to foreign nations in both Bush administrations. He is supremely connected among conservative donors in Florida. Weiser also served as an ambassador under former President George W. Bush and has a history of generous personal giving and prolific political fundraising. 
Washburne is a former RNC national finance chair and was the top fundraiser for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s presidential campaign. 
Coal billionaire Joe Craft has a history of lavish political spending and fundraising, including giving $1.25 million to Karl Rove’s American Crossroads group during the 2012 election cycle, according to FEC records.
The joint fundraising team will be headed by RNC finance chair Lew Eisenberg, and he’ll be closely supported by the head of the Trump campaign’s fundraising team, New York banker Steve Mnuchin.
“We are proud to have put together an experienced and motivated leadership team which is going to raise the support our nominee will need to win the White House,” Priebus said in a statement. 
“We still have a lot of hard work ahead of us to defeat Hillary Clinton and the Democrats, and I know this team is committed to raising the additional resources that will make the difference in producing victory this November.”
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