Pelosi’s correspondence isn’t nearly as … energetic as you-know-who’s. “Please contribute ANY AMOUNT IMMEDIATELY and your gift will be INCREASED by 500%,” writes “Donald J. Trump 45th President of the United States.” Just in case you’d forgotten.
Any amount? Sextupled by magic? “There’s no way to know what they mean by that,” said Robert Kelner, a Washington lawyer who’s an expert in campaign finance issues.
Well, it’s certainly impressive how urgent Trump makes it all sound. During the Labor Day barrage he announced that “your 400% impact offer has been extended” and that if you just “CONTRIBUTE NOW,” a $250 contribution will count as … $1,250!
If you’re interested, please make sure it happens only once. As Shane Goldmacher reported in The Times this spring, a 63-year-old cancer patient in hospice donated what was just about his last $500, and then discovered $3,000 had been withdrawn by the Trump campaign in less than 30 days, leaving his account empty and frozen. The campaign, you see, had set up a default system that siphoned new money every week from donors who didn’t realize they had to make a special effort to opt out.
Very tricky business, that. Another Trump letter includes boxes — prechecked for your convenience — with rousing statements like: “President Trump, I need you right now. This is where we step up and show the left-wing MOB that REAL Americans are REJECTING JOE BIDEN’S corrupt agenda.” Said box quietly ends, “Make this a monthly recurring donation.”
Campaign finance is, by any measure, a wicked complicated matter. Mistakes do happen. In the last two and a half months of 2020, the Biden campaign made 37,000 online refunds totaling $5.6 million. Which sounds like a hell of a lot until you consider that for the same period, the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee had to issue more than 530,000 refunds worth $64.3 million.
Many of the Trump emails suggest he needs money to challenge those evil, wrongheaded, “Biden won!” election results. Doesn’t seem like all that great a legal investment. Although probably better than those lawsuits Rudy Giuliani announced in a parking lot next to a porn store in Philadelphia.