Half the donations the Trump campaign is collecting right now for an election recount are actually going to pay off his debt.
As Donald Trump continues to make false claims of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election to discredit his Democratic opponent Joe Biden, the GOP has ramped up pleas asking supporters to help with legal fees to contest the election.
According to the Daily Beast, at midnight on election night the Trump campaign began sending out emails begging for financial help. By 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, it had sent nine separate requests.
One of them, signed by Vice President Mike Pence, said that Trump was on his way to "WINNING BIG."
"But it's only a matter of time before the Democrats try to steal the Election and manipulate the results... We need your help to ensure we have the proper resources to protect the results," it read.
And in an ongoing call to action from Republican fundraising platform WinRed, the Trump campaign presents this message from Trump: "THE DEMOCRATS WANT TO STEAL THIS ELECTION! There will be FRAUD like you've never seen, plain and simple! We need YOUR HELP to ensure we have the resource to protect the results and keep fighting even after Election Day. Don't wait, step up NOW to DEFEND the integrity of our election!"
The request for contributions adds, "We need YOUR HELP to ensure we have the resources to protect the results. We can't allow the Left-wing MOB to undermine our Election."
But while the message purports to ask for money for legal fees to contest the election, the fine print indicates that that only half of each donation will go toward the campaigns "recount account," while the other half will go to pay off the Trump campaign's debt.
"50% of each contribution, up to a maximum of $2,800 ($5,000), to be designated toward DJTFP’s 2020 general election account for general election debt retirement until such debt is retired. 50% of each contribution, up to a maximum of $2,800 ($5,000), to be designated toward DJTFP’s Recount Account," it reads in small letters. "Any amount that exceeds the applicable contribution limit for 2020 general election debt retirement, including any amounts donated to DJTFP after such debt has been retired, will be designated in full toward DJFTP’s Recount Account, up to a maximum of $2,800 ($5,000)."
The Trump campaign has filed lawsuits in four states with razor-thin margins to challenge voting practices or halt the counting of validly cast ballots.
According to the nonprofit Center for Responsible Politics, Trump's campaign has sent out vast numbers of other email blasts asking for Trump supporters to foot the bill for this slew of baseless lawsuits.
According to the center, one asks supporters to "protect the election results," while another says Democrats are seeking to "manipulate the results of the election."
Other GOP lawmakers have rushed to make money for Trump off of a contested election as well.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), took to Fox News Thursday to complain that the city of Philadelphia is "crooked as a snake" and brag that he'd personally donated $500,000 to Trump's legal fees to stop ballot counting.
"He helped Senate Republicans, we're going to pick up House seats," Graham said. "I'm going to donate $500,000 tonight to President Trump's defense legal fund."
He added that the "allegations of wrongdoing are earth-shattering" in Philadelphia.
Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) has also been stumping for Trump, donating to his campaign and urging Republican voters to do the same.
"It's a shame that we have to fight for a fair election in the greatest democracy the world has ever known, but we do," Blackburn wrote in a statement on her website, accompanied by a link to donate. "One of the best ways to do so is by joining me in donating to the President's legal defense fund. President Donald Trump has always had our backs, and now, Tennesseans need to have his to make sure every single legally cast ballot is counted."
No Republican, including Trump, has offered up any concrete evidence of voter fraud occurring in any state, but that hasn't stopped them from soliciting donations to tilt at windmills.
The Center for Responsible Politics notes that it is technically permissible for candidates to raise money for legal battles and challenges.
But it cautions that Trump has previously used his legal account in the past to pay for legal bills relating to the Mueller probe. He's also spent more on legal services than any other presidential election campaign in history: $20.8 million dollars in the past two election cycles.
By contrast, Democratic challenger Joe Biden spent only $2.2 million on legal fees during the 2020 election cycle. And former President George W. Bush, who previously held the record, spent $8.8 million on legal matters during his campaign in 2004.
Moreover, the Trump campaign isn't the only one profiting off the unfounded conspiracy theories the White House occupant is spinning about mass voter fraud. A Reuters report noted that nine YouTube channels are monetizing videos promoting conspiracies about voter fraud and Democrats stealing the election.
Google is currently reviewing reports of the channel, according to Reuters.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.