The January 6th Select Committee’s investigation into events leading up to the Capitol riot just explosively revealed that the Official Election Defense Fund that Donald Trump promised his follower’s donations would go to benefit, never actually existed. Still, Trump racked up the cash donations to it anyway by flogging his “Big Lie” about a stolen election.
Follow the money.
After the 2020 election, over $100 million of the estimated $250 million in donations was raised in the first week after Trump lost. It is money apparently unaccounted for since the organization doesn’t exist. ProPublica’s Eric Umansky on Twitter:
Trump raised $250 million for “The Official Election Defense Fund,” which is not a real organization! https://t.co/Amj2mZJjfL
— Eric Umansky (@ericuman) June 13, 2022
It’s no secret that Trump used his position as President to grift his supporters and enrich himself. So, finding out he raised a quarter-billion dollars for something other than what he claimed shouldn’t come as a surprise.
His election lies turned out to be big business. Blindly loyal MAGA supporters and an aggressive marketing campaign were the perfect combinations for this non-stop and continuous grifter. And those who worked for him knew it. As the January 6th Committee shared in a deposition recording, Trump’s former campaign staffer, Hanna Allred, said, “I don’t believe there is actually a fund called the Election Defense Fund.”
Previously, Jarrett Renshaw and Joseph Tafani at Reuters published a story in November 2020 that exposed Trump’s diversion of small-dollar donations that were split between Trump’s Save America PAC and the RNC. In a 60/40 split, with the larger share going to Trump – donations under $8,000 would bypass the Election Defense Fund entirely.
As President Donald Trump seeks to discredit #Election2020 with baseless claims of voter fraud, his team has bombarded his supporters with requests for money to help pay for legal challenges to the results https://t.co/2mNMvTbUkW 1/5 pic.twitter.com/G8Kf9MCWVO
— Reuters (@Reuters) November 12, 2020
“The President always planned to do this, win or lose, so he can support candidates and issues he cares about, such as combating voter fraud,” said Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh at the time.
The problem is, however, that’s not what was done. Instead, Trump preyed on his base’s misguided belief — a belief that he himself instilled — that there was widespread voter fraud and that the 2020 election was “stolen” from Trump – and from them. Trump urged his supporters to help and gave them the impression that they would be somehow less patriotic if they didn’t. He always implied that he needed their financial support.
After learning that The Election Defense Fund was more of The Election Lie Fraud, Biden spokesperson Andrew Bates called it right on the spot, saying in 2020:
“Given the rate at which these lawsuits are being thrown out of court one after another, it’s fitting to learn that they were never engineered to succeed in the first place and are instead the dismal basis for a dog and pony show.”
Now, the House Select Committee investigating January 6th, 2021, is about to cancel that show. Let’s hope that Trump’s deluded supporters at least have the sense to stop throwing worse money after bad.
Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick