Patterico's Pontifications


Big Trump Money Burned A Hole In Campaign’s Pocket

Filed under: General — Dana @ 2:18 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Here’s the AP report:

Trump bought a $10 million Super Bowl ad when he didn’t yet have a challenger. He tapped his political organization to cover exorbitant legal fees related to his impeachment. Aides made flashy displays of their newfound wealth — including a fleet of luxury vehicles purchased by Brad Parscale, his former campaign manager.

Meanwhile, a web of limited liability companies hid more than $310 million in spending from disclosure, records show.

Now, just two weeks out from the election, some campaign aides privately acknowledge they are facing difficult spending decisions at a time when Democratic nominee Joe Biden has flooded the airwaves with advertising. That has put Trump in the position of needing to do more of his signature rallies as a substitute during the coronavirus pandemic while relying on an unproven theory that he can turn out supporters who are infrequent voters at historic levels.

So how did they mismanage so much money? Well, according to one Republican consultant, by living large:

“They spent their money on unnecessary overhead, lifestyles-of-the-rich-and-famous activity by the campaign staff and vanity ads,” said Mike Murphy, a veteran Republican consultant who advised John McCain and Jeb Bush and is an outspoken Trump critic. “You could literally have 10 monkeys with flamethrowers go after the money, and they wouldn’t have burned through it as stupidly.”

Trump’s camp insists they are financially solvent with nearly three times as much as they had in 2016.

Here’s a look at advertising spending, and frankly it doesn’t look good:

On Monday, the firm Medium Buying reported Trump was canceling ad in Wisconsin; Minnesota, which Trump had hoped to flip; and Ohio, which went for Trump in 2016 but now appears to be a tight contest.

It’s a reversal from May, when Biden’s campaign was strapped for cash and Parscale ominously compared the Trump campaign to a “Death Star” that was about to “start pressing FIRE for the first time.”

The ad campaign they unrolled over the next three months cost over $176 million but did little to dent Biden’s lead in public opinion polling.

Here is a compilation of the “questionable” expenditures of the Trump campaign:

— Nearly $100,000 spent on copies of Donald Trump Jr.’s book “Triggered,” which helped propel it to the top of the New York Times bestsellers list.

— Over $7.4 million spent at Trump-branded properties since 2017.

— At least $35.2 million spent on Trump merchandise.

— $38.7 million in legal and “compliance” fees. In addition to tapping the RNC and his campaign to pay legal costs during his impeachment proceedings, Trump has also relied on his political operation to cover legal costs for some aides.

— At least $14.1 million spent on the Republican National Convention. The event was supposed to have been held in Charlotte, North Carolina, but Trump relocated it to Jacksonville, Florida, after a dispute with North Carolina’s Democratic governor over coronavirus safety measures. The Florida event was ultimately cancelled, as well, with a mostly online convention taking its place.

— $912,000 spent on ads that ran on the personal Facebook pages of Parscale and Trump spokesperson Katrina Pierson.

— A $250,000 ad run during Game 7 of the 2019 World Series, which came after Trump was booed by spectators when he attended Game 5.

— At least $218,000 for Trump surrogates to travel aboard private jets provided by campaign donors.

— $1.6 million on TV ads in the Washington, D.C., media market, an overwhelmingly Democratic area where Trump has little chance of winning but where he is a regular TV watcher.

As far as deep-pocket donors go, there seems to be a shift in priority:

“The Senate majority is the most important objective right now,” he said. “It’s the bulwark against so much bad policy that the Democrats want to do if they sweep the elections.”

Trump’s campaign is now spending a whole lot to get a dollar in contributions:

President Donald Trump’s campaign found it harder to raise money from small-dollar donors in the final months before the election, spending 77 cents of each dollar it received in the third quarter on future fundraising efforts, according to federal disclosures that highlighted the funding gap with Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

Spending by the campaign’s grassroots fundraising arm, Trump Make America Great Again, to pursue small donors was far higher than throughout his re-election campaign, when it spent 47 cents per dollar raised.

Over the last three months, TMAGA paid $181 million of the $235.7 million it raised from small donors to vendors for more fundraising expenses, the organization’s latest filing with the Federal Election Commission shows.

The need to reinvest such a high percentage of donations into raising even more money suggests that Trump is having difficulty getting contributions from his existing base and so is working to expand his reach to other small-dollar donors.

It looks like the Trump campaign not only loves big money as much as Trump but also has the same trouble managing it and spending it wisely. I guess that should not be surprising. If anything, we’ve learned that Trump attracts “like-minded” people to his camp.


28 Responses to “Big Trump Money Burned A Hole In Campaign’s Pocket”

  1. Aides’ new found wealth???

    In other words, it’s just another Trump racket.

    Dana (6995e0)

  2. Losing money is the secret to Donald Trump’s success.

    Dave (7aecdb)

  3. At least $35.2 million spent on Trump merchandise.

    That doesn’t make sense. Is the President’s team just giving this stuff out for free? I figured they had found enough suckers to pay for it so that they would at least break even.

    JVW (ee64e4)

  4. Why should his campaign be having money problems? Weren’t we told he was able to self finance and did not need money from the little people?
    We weren’t lied to, were we?

    Glenn (ff8126)

  5. People amazed that face eating leopard eats someone’s face

    Time123 (306531)

  6. Grifters going to grift. What is actually astonishing are the numbers of people who gave large amounts of money to the campaign and expected something different.

    Are there still people out there who believe Trump is an excellent and sensible businessman, who can be trusted with other people’s money?

    Victor (00af29)

  7. The prez would have a lot more money left over if he’d quit with the frosty chocolate milkshakes at every briefing!

    qdpsteve (8d496a)

  8. Why should his campaign be having money problems? Weren’t we told he was able to self finance and did not need money from the little people?

    I thought Mexico was going to pay for it.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  9. Reaganomics!

    norcal (a5428a)

  10. Why should his campaign be having money problems? Weren’t we told he was able to self finance…..
    Trump recognizes his campaign is a losing proposition.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  11. Imagine donating money to a billionaire.

    Davethulhu (6d3b4b)

  12. I am also kinda surprised Trump isn’t making a few bucks off those red hats the punks like. They can’t cost more than a couple bucks to make in Wuhan.

    Dustin (4237e0)

  13. Well, Dustin, even if Trump’s red hats aren’t pulling in the bucks, his businesses are, according to Forbes:

    Donald Trump never really got out of business. Sure, he handed day-to-day management of his companies to his children, like a lot of tycoons who get preoccupied with other interests late in life. But the president held onto ownership of his assets after taking office, ensuring that he would continue to generate money while serving in the White House. From 2017 to 2019, the president’s businesses raked in an estimated $1.9 billion of revenue.

    Trump’s golf course and club portfolio produced the biggest chunk of revenue, some $753 million in three years. The Trump National Doral golf resort in Miami, Florida led the way, bringing in $228 million of revenue from 2017 to 2019, about three-quarters of the total from the 10 other golf courses Trump owns in the United States. In Europe, another golf resort named Trump Turnberry generated $70 million. Holdings in Doonbeg, Ireland and Aberdeenshire, Scotland added $53 million, while Mar-a-Lago took in $69 million.

    At the end of the day, it’s his personal piggy bank that takes precedence.

    Dana (6995e0)

  14. The thing is, he’s making mistakes he didn’t make in 2016. That time, he didn’t have so much money, at least at first, and what money he had was his.

    It seems like Trump doesn’t have any independent judgement as to who;s good and wh;s bad at running things. Or, he was questioning things then.

    It’s probably not only money, but strategy.

    You get the feeling his campaign people are lying to him. It bears all the signs of a losing campaign and a strategy based on hopeful assumptions. Which is bad in business, too.

    The rallies are only useful as debate prep. They don’t get national TV coverage any more except in specialized outlets, but I read his campaign people were saying, a trip to a city gets some local TV coverage, In 2016, responses to requests for reservations at rallies were used as a form of polling.

    Sammy Finkelman (a69e24)

  15. At this point, the kids are making off with anything not nailed down; their name is not going to sell many purses or steaks in the next few, and they’re likely to have a conversation or two with lawyers. (If the Resolute Desk ends up on eBay in December, I’m sure that was Biden’s people.)

    The help, as usual, is mostly screwed. Parscale and whoever handled his books most likely has interesting things to say, given proper motivation, although I imagine he is muzzled like Hannibal Lector until at least November 5th.

    john (cd2753)

  16. Oh yeah, I can just imagine Brad Parscale waxing his Ferrari in a backwards sweatsuit he’s worn for four days straight, looking over his shoulder, sees the minivan is still watching him.

    Dustin (4237e0)

  17. Incompetent in all things, even important ones, rivaled only by venality.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  18. That doesn’t make sense. Is the President’s team just giving this stuff out for free? I figured they had found enough suckers to pay for it so that they would at least break even.

    Well, eventually, but this is multi-level marketing. Good to be the guys at the top.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  19. Then the End Times Will Begin

    I’d say we are four years in.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  20. New York Times: Tax records show Trump maintains Chinese bank account

    President Donald Trump’s tax records show he has pursued expansive business projects in China for years and even maintains a Chinese bank account, The New York Times reported Tuesday, disclosures that deal a blow to the President’s efforts to paint Democratic nominee Joe Biden as the presidential candidate who is soft on China.

    An analysis of Trump’s tax records by the Times shows that the President holds a previously unreported bank account in China that was not included on his public financial disclosures because it is held under a corporate name. Trump also maintains bank accounts in Britain and Ireland.

    Every accusation Trump makes is a confession.

    Dave (1bb933)

  21. There’s still the PAC money, funded by the big money donors such as Sheldon Adelson who dumped in $75 million in the last three months alone, and the national and local Party (GOP that is) money such as the $3.2 million Kelly Loeffler paid for her appointment to the Senate. They’ll be working to reelect Trump too.

    So even if the Trump campaign does not pay for ad in Wisconsin, it doesn’t mean there won’t be one. The PACs and the Party will step in to fill the breach. Technically, they’re not allowed to coordinate but they don’t really need to. They might even do better with their own strategies instead of Stepien Fetchien’s (sorry, couldn’t resist).

    nk (1d9030)

  22. Meantime, Mike Bloomberg pledged to spend $100 million in Florida, part of which was to pay off the debts of thousands of felons so their voting rights could be restored. I think Bloomberg can manage $100 million a lot better than Parscale.

    Paul Montagu (77c694)

  23. Then the End Times Will Begin

    I’d say we are four years in.

    Kevin M (ab1c11) — 10/20/2020 @ 6:05 pm

    This dont help, either:

    urbanleftbehind (973b55)

  24. Smod is just teasing us, skylab was more impressive.

    Bolivar di griz (7404b5)

  25. Could be that Robertson is right, but Trump’s reelection will only serve as the vehicle for Pence. He is the anointed of Beelzebub.

    nk (1d9030)

  26. 2.Losing money is the secret to Donald Trump’s success.

    Too big to fail: Reaganomics.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  27. Didn’t mean to ignore this:

    New York Times: Tax records show Trump maintains Chinese bank account

    But he says “Wuhan Flu” so that makes everything all right.

    nk (1d9030)

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