‘The Big Scam’: Jan 6 Committee Explains How False Election Claims Fueled Trump’s Fundraising

Washington— The House Select Committee is investigating the January 6 attack on the United States Capitol charted a path Monday showing how the Trump campaign and its allies used baseless allegations of voter fraud to raise millions of dollars from the former president’s supporters – money that was then funneled into the pockets of entities closely tied to Trump.

The fundraising roadmap was set by Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a Democrat from California who played a leading role on the committee. second day of hearingwhich focused on how Trump accepted unsubstantiated claims that the election was stolen, even though close administration and campaign advisers knew that was not the case.

The Trump campaign, she said, “used these false claims of voter fraud to raise hundreds of millions of dollars from supporters who were told their donations were for the legal fight in court. But the Trump campaign didn’t use the money for that. . The ‘Big Lie’ was a big scam too.”

According to the committee’s findings, detailed in a video released near the end of the hearing, the former president’s campaign pushed the narrative of a rigged election even as legal challenges raising the same claims failed in front of dozens. judges, including some appointed by Trump himself. .

Between Nov. 3, 2020 and Jan. 6, 2021, the former president’s supporters were harassed with dozens of emails – up to 25 a day – that encouraged them to ‘fight back’ against a ‘left-wing mob’ undermining the election. The missives urged supporters to “step up” by contributing to a so-called “Election Defense Fund” that would be used to cover election-related litigation, according to Amanda Wick, senior investigative counsel for the House panel.

But a former Trump campaign staffer, Hanna Allred, told the committee in a closed-door interview, “I don’t believe there is actually a fund called the Election Defense Fund.” Gary Coby, the Trump campaign’s former digital director, said in separate testimony that the Election Defense Fund was a marketing tactic.

Claims that the election was stolen from Trump have proven to be a major motivation for his supporters, with the former president and his allies raking in $250 million, nearly $100 million of which was paid out in the first week after the election, according to Wick. The Trump campaign raised funds through the false election claims until Jan. 6, Wick said, with the last email sent 30 minutes after the Capitol building was first breached by crowds of supporters. of the former president.

Most of the money was not used to challenge the election results in court, but rather to the Save America PAC, which Trump kicked off a week after the 2020 election. The committee found that the former president’s political action committee, which is now its main political entity, had donated “millions” to pro-Trump organizations, including:

  • $1 million to the Conservative Partnership Institute, of which former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows is the senior partner
  • $1 million to the America First Policy Institute, a research organization that employs many former Trump administration officials, including former Small Business Administration administrator Linda McMahon, the president’s former senior adviser Kellyanne Conway and former Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf
  • $204,857 to the Trump Hotel Collection
  • $5 million to Event Strategies Inc., the company that organized the Jan. 6 rally on the Ellipse

Kimberly Guilfoyle, who is engaged to Donald Trump Jr. and was a top fundraiser for the Trump campaign, also received a $60,000 speaking fee for introducing her fiancé at the 6 January at the Ellipse, after which supporters of the former president marched. on Capitol Hill, Lofgren told CNN after Monday’s hearing.

Video of the rally shows Guilfoyle spoke for less than three minutes before handing the microphone to Trump Jr., the former president’s oldest son.

“The Trump campaign and his surrogates misled donors as to where their funds would go and what they would be used for, so not only was there the ‘big lie,’ there was the big rip-off,” Lofgren said. during the hearing. “Donors deserve to know where their funds are really going. They deserve better than what President Trump and his team have done.”

Fundraising Numbers published by the Trump campaign are consistent with the committee’s findings. In December 2020, the former president’s electoral apparatus boasted that since the Nov. 3 election, the campaign, the Republican National Committee, the joint Trump Victory and Trump Make America Great Again committees, as well as the Save America PAC, had raised $207.5 million.

Bill Stepien, Trump’s campaign manager who was scheduled to testify on Monday but was unable to appear because his wife gave birth, said in a statement at the time that the former president’s supporters are “committed to fighting for the legitimate and lawful outcome of the 2020 general election”. election.”

A filing with the Federal Election Commission covering the end of November 2020 through the end of the year revealed that the Save America PAC alone rang in 2021 with over $31 million cash.

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Post expires at 3:47pm on Saturday June 25th, 2022