No one who has paid attention to the career of Donald Trump will be surprised to learn that he is a shameless, recidivist con artist, callously deceiving and stealing from the very people on whose behalf he purports to be fighting. That’s been true throughout his presidency and for decades prior.
Now the New York Times has published an extensive exposé on the corrupt and underhanded practices of Trump’s crooked campaign donation operation. The article goes into great depth documenting the deliberate deception that Trump and his Republican confederates engaged in to fleece his glassy-eyed cult disciples.
How the Trump campaign used prechecked boxes on digital fundraising solicitations to repeatedly take money from the bank accounts of onetime donors without their realizing it. @ShaneGoldmacher https://t.co/uYDOo3MeqD
— Peter Baker (@peterbakernyt) April 3, 2021
The article begins with a heartbreaking example of Trump’s cold-blooded greed:
“Stacy Blatt was in hospice care last September listening to Rush Limbaugh’s dire warnings about how badly Donald J. Trump’s campaign needed money when he went online and chipped in everything he could: $500.
“It was a big sum for a 63-year-old battling cancer and living in Kansas City on less than $1,000 per month. But that single contribution — federal records show it was his first ever — quickly multiplied. Another $500 was withdrawn the next day, then $500 the next week and every week through mid-October, without his knowledge — until Mr. Blatt’s bank account had been depleted and frozen.”
“…what the Blatts believed was duplicity was actually an intentional scheme to boost revenues by the Trump campaign and the for-profit company that processed its online donations, WinRed. Facing a cash crunch and getting badly outspent by the Democrats, the campaign had begun last September to set up recurring donations by default for online donors, for every week until the election.”
The form for making contributions to Trump’s campaign featured a pre-checked box that donors would have to find and uncheck in order to opt out of recurring donations. And even if they saw it, they would have to read through a confusing, fine-print disclaimer to understand the terms.
Consequently, hundreds (thousands?) of donors were purposefully misled. The campaign would eventually be forced to “issue more than 530,000 refunds worth $64.3 million to online donors.” But even considering the inconvenience of refunding so many donors, Trump’s scam enabled him to benefit from what were effectively “interest-free loans from unwitting supporters.” He was even able to “use tens of millions of dollars he raised after the election […] to help cover the refunds he owed.”
The for-profit organization that collected Trump’s donations, WinRed, operates differently from other campaign donation sites such as the Democratic-aligned firm, ActBlue, which is non-profit. According to the Times, WinRed “makes its money by taking 30 cents of every donation, plus 3.8 percent of the amount given. […] WinRed even made money off donations that were refunded by keeping the fees it charged on each transaction.”
This sort of thievery is entirely on brand for Trump. It is, in fact, the hallmark of his unethical business life. It’s certain to remind people of his fraudulent Trump University, his phony, egocentric charity, his blatant lies about raising funds for veterans, and his bankrupt casinos.
And that doesn’t even begin to address the rampant and brazen treachery of his brief political life. Those lies include Trump’s deranged insistence that he won the 2020 presidential election, which he continues to this day. It was that Big Lie that led to Trump inciting the deadly Capitol riots and insurrection that he recently claimed was all “hugs and kisses” and “posed zero threat.” And worst of all, was Trump’s deliberate dishonesty, negligence, and incompetence, with regard to the COVID pandemic that resulted in the deaths of more than half a million Americans. And for all of that and more, there needs to be a moral and legal reckoning for Trump and all of his enablers.
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How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.