Donald Trump has always insisted that he can’t be bought: A key aspect of his appeal is the independence granted by his purportedly vast wealth. And while Hillary Clinton is also demonstrably wealthy, Trump continues to insist that she is not only corruptible but corrupt. “She’s got to do right for her donors,” he told voters at a rally in Ohio last week. “I’m going to do right for you.” His refusal to disclose his tax returns and his disingenuous explanation for why he can’t do so, however, put the lie to this claim—as does his refusal, now, to disclose the names of people who are helping him close the fundraising gap.
On Thursday, the Trump campaign announced that it raised $51 million in the last week of May and the month of June—$26 million for the campaign itself and $25 million for the RNC. While there is no reason to doubt, necessarily, the accuracy of these numbers—and they are obviously a vast improvement over the campaign’s abysmal $3.1 million May fundraising efforts—it is important to remember they do not represent anything close to a full accounting of the campaign’s financial health.
Last week, despite what Democratic members of the Federal Election Committee called “compelling” evidence that an investigation should be pursued, the FEC closed its file on allegations that Robert Murray, America’s last and flushest coal baron, had coerced his employees into giving to his super PAC.
Since he declared his candidacy for president, a number of “scam PACs” have taken advantage of the havoc Donald Trump—who needs to raise $1 billion if he wants to even be competitive in the general election—has wrought upon the Republican donor class. Now, as more of these groups insinuate themselves into the fundraising chaos, the financiers who have resigned themselves to a Trump candidacy aren’t sure where to send their money.
On Tuesday, Donald Trump told the Associated Press that he doesn’t plan to release his tax returns before the presidential election in November. “There’s nothing to learn from them,” he said. Then, on Wednesday, he said he would release them. “I’ll release. Hopefully before the election I’ll release,” he told Fox News. “And I’d like to release.” (Doesn’t seem like it.) “You learn very little from a tax return,” he added. Maybe, but you learn a lot from someone’s ambivalence about releasing them.
Just before launching the rather specifically-named Hillary Victory Fund, ostensibly formed to help “rebuild” the Democratic Party “from the ground up,” Hillary Clinton declared, “When our state parties are strong, we win. That’s what will happen.” According to Politico, however, less than 1 percent of the $61 million raised by the fund has remained with the state parties.
Representative Duncan Hunter, the vaping Republican from California, has already gotten in trouble this election season for his re-election campaign’s reckless spending. Now, a watchdog group has called for his finances to be audited, after discovering that the congressman may have used campaign funds to pay for a family trip to Italy last Thanksgiving.
On Tuesday, following a rally at SUNY-Purchase, Greenpeace activist Eva Resnick-Day confronted Hillary Clinton, asking her whether she would stop taking money from the fossil fuel industry. Clinton, frustrated, jabbed her finger in Resnick-Day’s face: “I am so sick of the Sanders campaign lying about me.”
On Tuesday, Dr. Ben Carson “jokingly” speculated that aides who have left his campaign might have been intentionally undermining his efforts with ostensibly incompetent spending. “We had people who didn’t really seem to understand finances...or maybe they did—maybe they were doing it on purpose.” Haha, maybe!
On Saturday, even as political reporters put the finishing touches on their Jeb Bush postmortems—do: “Fall of the house of Bush: how Jeb fell victim to hype, hysteria...and himself”; don’t: “Fall of the House of Bush: How last name and Donald Trump doomed Jeb”—the candidate and his super PAC gave us one more morbid look at the finances of a failing political dynasty.
Almost half of the top 20 employers whose workers contributed to the Sanders campaign last year were companies in Silicon Valley, the Wall Street Journal reports, including Google, Apple, and Microsoft. He received almost $105,000 from employees of the five largest tech firms in the last three months of 2015.