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75% of every donation to Trump's 'election defense fund' could be spent by the president himself on things like paying family members or financing a 2024 bid

Published by Business Insider on Wed, 25 Nov 2020

<p><img src="https://static6.businessinsider.com/image/5fbd4be832f2170011f70f4c-2400/GettyImages-1287459260.jpg" border="0" alt="GettyImages donald trump" data-mce-source="Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images" data-mce-caption="President Donald Trump speaks to the press in the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House on November 24, 2020."></p><p></p><bi-shortcode id="summary-shortcode" data-type="summary-shortcode" class="mceNonEditable" contenteditable="false">Summary List Placement</bi-shortcode><p>President Donald Trump lost the 2020 presidential election but continues to bombard voters with repeated texts and emails seeking donations for his efforts to overturn the results.</p><p>"Please contribute $5 RIGHT NOW to the Election Defense Fund to stop the Radical Left from STEALING this Election," one campaign email said on Tuesday.&nbsp;</p><p>However, it remains unknown exactly <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/trump-campaign-still-begging-for-money-as-votes-get-counted-2020-11">what that money is being used for</a>.</p><p>In the days following the election, the fine print on <a href="https://secure.winred.com/tmagac/election-defense-fund-cond">Trump's Make America Great Again Committee</a> donation page <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/donations-trump-legal-fund-spent-on-paying-off-campaign-debt-2020-11">said</a> 60% of every contribution would be routed to pay off campaign debt. Trump then directed that share of funds to his new leadership political action committee, Save America, which he <a href="https://docquery.fec.gov/pdf/422/202011099336977422/202011099336977422.pdf">launched</a> on November 9, three days after Decision Desk HQ and Insider called the race for President-elect Joe Biden.</p><p>The details have been updated again. Now the first 75% of each donation goes to Save America, but the amount is capped at $5,000. Once that dollar amount has been met, a portion of the contribution goes to the Trump campaign's recount account. And 25% of the money is sent to a Republican National Committee account.</p><p>A leadership PAC is <a href="https://www.opensecrets.org/industries/indus.php'ind=q03">typically created</a> by current and former politicians to donate money to each other and build relationships. The contributions can be used to fund candidates' travel and events, for example. Trump's PAC has raised questions about whether he will try to maintain political influence after he exits the White House.</p><p>Trump's campaign spokesperson Tim Murtaugh <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2020/11/10/politics/donald-trump-leadership-pac-republicans/index.html">said in a statement</a> after the president established Save America that he "always planned to do this, win or lose, so he can support candidates and issues he cares about, such as combating voter fraud."</p><p>However, there aren't many restrictions on how the donations can be spent, meaning Trump could use the funds entirely for himself. <a href="https://apnews.com/article/money-donald-trump-election-defense-flow-d533491164bd4cae7ac47392ca740c7d">Multiple</a>&nbsp;<a href="https://www.nytimes.com/live/2020/11/10/us/joe-biden-trump/trump-starts-raising-money-for-a-new-save-america-pac-to-fund-his-future-activities">reports</a> suggested he could spend the money to help finance a 2024 presidential bid or support his post-presidency life, as well as his family members.&nbsp;</p><p>"This money could easilyand legallyend up in his own pocket in the coming years," Paul Ryan, the vice president of policy and litigation at Common Cause, said in a <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2020/11/23/politics/trump-fundraising-money-save-america/index.html">CNN report</a> on Monday. Save America will have to release its fundraising numbers and expenses in its first public report on December 3, according to CNN.</p><p>Trump has still not conceded the election, but his administration <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/gsa-provides-biden-with-resources-to-begin-presidential-transition-2020-11">on Monday evening</a> officially began the transition process for Biden's White House. Trump's plans after January 20 remain unclear.</p><p><a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/donations-trump-leadership-pac-pay-family-finance-2024-presidential-bid-2020-11#comments">Join the conversation about this story &#187;</a></p> <p>NOW WATCH: <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/what-its-like-travel-during-coronavirus-outbreak-planes-airports-virus-2020-3">Here's what it's like to travel during the coronavirus outbreak</a></p>
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