This is an astonishing amount of money, given the circumstances. https://t.co/Gf1YREdnjD
— Julie Bykowicz (@bykowicz) December 1, 2020
Just so it’s not overlooked, in the rush of events…
Trump entered office as a con-artist and he's leaving as a con-artist https://t.co/OM5tRMDHkr
— Catherine Rampell (@crampell) December 1, 2020
President Trump’s political operation has raised more than $170 million since Election Day, using a blizzard of misleading appeals about the election to shatter fundraising records set during the campaign, according to people with knowledge of the contributions.
The influx of political donations is one reason that Trump and some allies are inclined to continue a legal onslaught and public relations blitz focused on baseless claims of election fraud, even as their attempts have repeatedly failed in court and as key states continue to certify wins for President-elect Joe Biden.
Much of the money raised since the election is likely to go into an account for the president to use on political activities after he leaves office, while some of the contributions will go toward what is left of the legal fight…
That’s one way to keep funding those egoboosting rallies, of course. But as even the most inexperienced political reporter already knows, ‘political activities’ can be construed amazingly broadly, especially for a pol who’s left office with a lot left in their account(s).
… The money collected by the leadership PAC cannot be used directly for Trump’s own campaign purposes, but there are few other restrictions on how the money can be spent. For example, donations could be used to pay for events at Trump’s properties or to finance his travel or personal expenses…
Leadership PAC funds can’t be used to finance the campaign activity of the officeholder or former official who leads the PAC. Any contributing from the PAC to support other candidates for office must be done within federal contribution limits, and that money must come from legal sources.
But beyond that, there are no restrictions on how the official can spend leadership PAC money, said Kate Belinski, a campaign finance legal expert who formerly served as a lawyer at the FEC’s Enforcement Division.
“There’s not really a legal mechanism that would prevent somebody from enriching themselves with the contributions that they receive into their leadership PAC in the same way that personal-use restrictions would prohibit that for a campaign committee,” she said…