CNN: Trump asks for ‘election defense’ donations, but the money also benefits his new leadership PAC
11.10.2020 / By Fredreka Schouten
CNN: Trump asks for 'election defense' donations, but the money also benefits his new leadership PAC
Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump has established a leadership PAC, a fundraising arm that could allow him to continue to exert influence in Republican politics even after he leaves office.
“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,” campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh said in an emailed statement Tuesday when asked about the PAC.
The committee is dubbed Save America, according to its filings with the Federal Election Commission. And Trump’s team already has begun fundraising for the PAC, adding Save America to the list of political organizations that will receive a share of the funds the President’s operation is scrambling to raise for what it calls his “election defense task force.”
The fundraising could keep Trump on the political stage, funneling money to his preferred candidates in the midterm elections and beyond. He also can tap the PAC’s money to fund his own political activity by underwriting polling, travel, staff and other expenses.
Leadership PACs can accept donations of up to $5,000 from each individual donor a year. They also can accept money from other political action committees. …
Campaign finance experts say Trump is engaging in a bait-and-switch tactic with his supporters.
“He’s saying that he needs donors’ money for election-challenge litigation, but he’s putting the money into an account to be used for his political future,” said Paul Ryan, the vice president for policy and litigation at Common Cause.
Fundraising limits are higher for leadership PACs than candidate committees. A donor could only contribute a maximum of $2,800 at this point for a 2024 presidential campaign but can contribute $20,000 to a leadership PAC in four, annual installments by that date, Ryan notes.
The rules on spending by leadership PACs also are far more relaxed than those for campaign committees and do not restrict politicians from using donors’ funds for personal expenses — a use forbidden in a presidential campaign account.
“Leadership PACs are notoriously abused by politicians as slush funds without violating any laws,” Ryan said.