How Donald Trump swindles voters
The Electoral College confirmed the victory of Joe Biden this week. Yet Donald Trump continues his efforts to overturn the results with fruitless litigation. Why do Republicans refuse to admit he should halt his efforts? Many think it is because they need his endorsement in the future when they face an election even after he leaves office as president.
But another reason is to have millions of small donors send money to his defense fund, which has collected more than $200 million since after the election. Donors are told that these contributions will be used to overturn the results. If they believe that, they have another thing coming. Contrary to its stated purpose, the defense fund is a slush fund that can pay for his personal expenses and also finance campaigns in the future.
Trump and his team know that the legal battle is hopeless. They suffered litigation losses which culminated in the Supreme Court decision against their election case. They failed to convince state officials to overturn the results. Even Attorney General William Barr debunked their arguments as he declared there was zero evidence of massive voter fraud.
But Trump continues to ask donors to finance his fight to overturn the results. His team has sent more than 200 emails with subject lines that claim “the recount results were bogus” and “will you allow the corrupt Democrats to try to steal this election?” The website states the money would “ensure we have the resources” to defend “the integrity for our election” and not “allow the left wing mob to undermine” it.
That is not how the dollars are used because 60 percent of defense fund contributions are sent to Save America, established by Trump, and about 40 percent are given to the Republican National Committee. Supporters would have to donate more than $8,000 before any dollars head toward litigation and recounts. Any contributions under that amount are sent to Save America and also the Republican National Committee.
Trump can use Save America dollars to pay family members and finance travel, hotel stays, and costly events in fancy venues. The donations sent to the Republican National Committee can be used for candidates in any race, even that Georgia runoff election that will determine control of the Senate and likely the future of initiatives and cabinet choices of the next administration. The defense fund is the latest cheat by Trump.
Republicans in Congress have mostly turned a blind eye with his previous infractions. This time they are complicit in misleading Trump loyalists into spending money they cannot afford to lose, in the midst of a pandemic, to reverse an election that has been decided, when they know much of it will head to their pockets. It is the perfect parting shot from an administration that was built on fraud and contempt for our laws and citizens.
Neil Baron is a political consultant and a former adviser for Congress and the Securities and Exchange Commission on credit rating agency reform.