Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump greets audience members at a campaign rally in Bangor, Maine, June 29, 2016.
Photo by Bryan Snyder/Reuters

Donald Trump’s fundraising takes an even more controversial turn

When Donald Trump’s Republican presidential campaign reported paltry fundraising totals last week, much of the political world was taken aback, and his woeful finances became a controversy unto themselves.
 
But when it comes to the GOP candidate and fundraising, we’re just getting started.
 
This week, for example, Team Trump thought it’d be a good idea to send out an appeal to donors telling would-be contributors they had a chance to “indict Hillary Clinton” on unidentified charges.
 
Making matters worse, the Trump campaign has reportedly sent fundraising solicitations to elected officials in foreign countries. The Washington Post reported:
[A] wave of fundraising pleas [were] inexplicably sent by the Trump campaign in recent days to lawmakers in the United Kingdom, Iceland, Australia and elsewhere. The solicitations prompted watchdog groups in Washington to file two separate complaints Wednesday with the Federal Election Commission alleging that the Trump campaign was violating federal law by soliciting funds from foreign nationals.
 
“The scale and scope of this does seem somewhat unprecedented,” said Brendan Fischer, associate counsel for the Campaign Legal Center, which joined Democracy 21 in one of the complaints.
Worse still, some of the Trump campaign’s specific fundraising boasts appear to be literally unbelievable, and Hillary Clinton’s campaign argued that the Republican’s claims are very likely “total bunk.”
 
All of which brings us to the new controversy surrounding Trump’s loans.
 
NBC News had this gem this morning, noting that the presumptive Republican nominee says that he forgave loans he made to his campaign, but there’s no proof that Trump actually did so.
When Donald Trump said last Thursday he was forgiving over $45 million in personal loans he made to his campaign, the announcement drew plenty of coverage. Many even reported Trump’s statement as if the deal was done.
 
But it’s not.
 
A week later, NBC News has learned the FEC has posted no record of Trump converting his loans to donations. The Trump Campaign has also declined requests to share the legal paperwork required to execute the transaction, though they suggest it has been submitted.
 
Last week, campaign spokesperson Hope Hicks said Trump was submitting formal paperwork forgiving the loan on Thursday, according to the Wall Street Journal. Reached by NBC this week, she said the paperwork “will be filed with the next regularly scheduled FEC report,” and declined to provide any documentation.
This may seem like a minor detail, but keep in mind, if Trump hasn’t forgiven the loans he made to his own campaign operation, he can end up paying himself back with others’ donations. In other words, when contributors write a check, they do so knowing that some or all of their money will end up in the candidate’s pocket – which necessarily has the effect of discouraging would-be supporters.
 
That wouldn’t be the case if Trump formally forgives the loans, as he said he would, but as NBC News discovered, that hasn’t happened yet.
 
 
 
 

Donald Trump and Fundraising

Donald Trump's fundraising takes an even more controversial turn