WASHINGTON (AP) — As President Donald Trump’s likelihood of reelection dwindled very last 7 days, his marketing campaign began blasting out a nonstop stream of e-mail and textual content messages that led to a web page raising funds for an “election defense fund” to contest the final result.

President Donald Trump arrives to speak at the White House, Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

© Supplied by Connected Press
President Donald Trump comes to discuss at the White House, Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020, in Washington. (AP Picture/Evan Vucci)

Like a lot of hallmarks of the Trump presidency, the messages contained all-caps lettering and blatant mistruths about voter fraud all through the Nov. 3 election. They also mislead supporters about where the income would go.


Trump has promised to contest President-elect Joe Biden’s win in court docket. But the fine print signifies a lot of the funds donated to guidance that work considering the fact that Election Working day has in its place paid down campaign personal debt, replenished the Republican Nationwide Committee and, more not long ago, assisted get Save America, a new political action committee Trump established, off the floor.

The unconventional way the Trump marketing campaign is divvying up the contributions has drawn scrutiny from election watchdogs, who say Trump and his loved ones are poised to economically profit from the arrangement.

“This is a slush fund. That’s the bottom line,” mentioned Paul S. Ryan, a longtime marketing campaign finance legal professional with the superior authorities group Common Cause. “Trump may perhaps just continue on to string out this meritless litigation in order to fleece his possess supporters of their funds and use it in the coming a long time to pad his own way of living whilst teasing a 2024 candidacy.”

The Democratic National Committee and Biden’s campaign are also increasing funds for a legal battle more than the result of the election. Most of the revenue is for the DNC’s lawful account, although some of it will be routed to the party’s typical fund, which won’t deal with the exact same paying constraints. It could then be made use of to spend for ads, for illustration, if Republicans attempt to get ballots tossed out with insignificant — and correctible — glitches, according to a DNC official.

Trump’s approach is much distinct.

The initial number of times following the election, cash that was purportedly for the authorized battle mostly went to Trump’s marketing campaign for debt payment, as perfectly as the RNC, as first documented by The Wall Street Journal. But on Monday, Trump released Conserve America, his new PAC, which is now poised to get the greatest share in numerous circumstances.

Conserve The us is a style of marketing campaign committee that is frequently referred to as a “leadership PAC,” which has increased contribution limits — $5,000 per calendar year — and faces less constraints on how the dollars is put in. In contrast to candidate campaign accounts, management PACs can also be tapped to spend for particular fees.

A in-depth breakdown of how contributions are break up up exhibits that 60{3eba3d3415becf4302d80c682b6480d7b88003de9407d8cc6f062607002b4a18} of any donation now goes to Preserve The us PAC. The following 40{3eba3d3415becf4302d80c682b6480d7b88003de9407d8cc6f062607002b4a18} goes to an RNC account. It is only when a donor reaches the optimum contribution limit for every group — $5,000 for Trump’s PAC and $35,000 for the RNC — that income will spill into legal accounts for Trump and the RNC, according to campaign finance lawyers who have reviewed the facts of the arrangement.

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In a statement, Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh did not tackle issues about how the incoming donations are split up.

“The President normally prepared to do this, gain or lose, so he can assist candidates and problems he cares about, these as combating voter fraud,” Murtaugh said.

A spokesperson for the RNC did not respond to a ask for for remark.

Biden spokesperson Andrew Bates claimed Trump’s fundraising exertion was exploitative but not stunning.

“Given the charge at which these lawsuits are being thrown out of court docket 1 just after yet another, it is fitting to master that they had been under no circumstances engineered to do well in the to start with area and are in its place the dismal basis for a pet and pony demonstrate,” Bates stated.

Leadership PACs have prolonged been abused. Even though they are supposed to be applied for boosting revenue that can later be donated to other candidates, they can lawfully be used to pay for lavish — and questionable — charges.

“They could shell out (Trump) little ones consulting fees. They could pay the children’s important some others consulting fees. They could acquire Don Jr.’s book, which the campaign just cannot do,” explained Adav Noti, a former Federal Election Fee legal professional who now is effective for the nonpartisan Marketing campaign Legal Heart. “They could do just about anything with it. There’s no own use restriction.”

(The RNC, not the Trump campaign, did expend just about $100,000 getting copies of Donald Trump Jr.’s e book, “Triggered,” very last year.)

Trump has refused to admit Biden’s victory and has argued with no evidence that there was common voter fraud that has benefited Biden. He has also vowed to battle the success in courtroom. His fundraising messages sought to capitalize on that concept.

“THE DEMOCRATS WANT TO STEAL THIS ELECTION! There will be FRAUD like you have hardly ever witnessed, plain and basic!” Trump’s fundraising homepage reads. “We Need to have YOUR Enable to assure we have the methods to protect the results and keep fighting even immediately after Election Working day. Really do not hold out, action up NOW to Defend the integrity of our Election!”

There is no evidence of popular fraud in the 2020 election. In reality, election officers from each political functions have stated publicly that the election went nicely, and global observers confirmed there had been no significant irregularities.

The concerns Trump’s marketing campaign and its allies have pointed to are regular in just about every election: issues with signatures, secrecy envelopes and postal marks on mail-in ballots, as perfectly as the probable for a modest selection of ballots miscast or shed. With Biden top Trump by broad margins in critical battleground states, none of individuals concerns would have any effect on the outcome of the election.

Legal difficulties filed by the Trump marketing campaign have complained that their poll watchers have been unable to scrutinize the voting method. Many of those people worries have been tossed out by judges, some inside of hrs of their filing and once again, none of the grievances show any evidence that the consequence of the election was afflicted.

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