Former President Donald Trump is said to have convinced unwitting supporters to give tens of millions in recurring donations to his 2020 campaign, a scam that allowed the campaign to withdraw weekly payments to one-time contributors as the election neared. The strategy emerged around March of last year, the New York Times reported on Saturday, when the Trump campaign began including a pre-ticked box on the online donation portal that unless donors signed up. withdrawn manually, paid their one-time contribution as a recurring monthly payment.
The Trumps team and the Republican National Committee rolled out a second pre-checked box in June, called the Money Bomb, which doubled the planned donation from donors and helped drive online contributions to record levels. . In the fall, the Trump campaign had increased its operation with adjustments to the automatically checked boxes: the first box, which was initially for a recurring monthly donation, now indicated that the amount would be withdrawn each week. Donation disclaimers have been removed in bold print, according to previous versions reviewed by The Times, and increasingly overshadowed by bold text and the use of the Trumps signature of all-caps words.
Upon discovering the state of their bank accounts, many Trump donors initially thought they had been victims of fraud. This was true for Stacy Blatt, a Trump supporter in her 60s who died of cancer in February but, from hospice care last September, chose to donate $ 500 to the campaign. In less than 30 days, that amount had multiplied to $ 3,000 in withdrawals. It was like a scam, Blatts’ brother Russell told The Times. Another supporter surprised to see their donation multiply was Victor Amelino, a 78-year-old California resident whose online donation of $ 900 to Trump has grown to almost $ 8,000. I am retired. I can’t afford to pay all the damn money, he told the store.
Many people scammed by the campaign have filed fraud complaints with banks and credit card companies, and the Times reports that Operation Trump issued $ 122 million in total refunds in 2020, $ 101 million of more than President Joe Bidens’ campaign. Trump was able to use tens of millions of dollars he raised after the election, under the guise of fighting his unsubstantiated fraud claims, to help cover the repayments he owed, according to the Times. Trump spokesman Jason Miller played down the newspaper fraud complaints. When asked if Trump himself was aware of the recurring payment model, the campaign did not respond.
All of this is particularly ironic given the stance taken by the Trump campaign against deceptive donation tactics in May 2019, as Trump campaign adviser David Bossie used the president’s name to scam donors, mostly voters. elderly and retired, for their own financial gain. The Trump campaign condemns any organization that deceptively uses the names of presidents and confuses voters, she said in a statement, berating dishonest fundraising groups whose actions show they are interested in fulfilling their pockets with money from innocent American paychecks, for which there is no excuse.
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