The Trump campaign has sent a flurry of emails and text messages asking loyal supporters to donate to the president’s Official Election Defense Fund, but the vast majority of those grassroots donations will not be helping his slim chances of contesting the 2020 election results in court.
Instead, the cash will help Trump and the GOP with all their other expenses—from supporting the campaigns of other Republicans to building the party’s momentum for future elections.
Tucked away in the fine print of Trump’s fundraising messages is the revelation that a large percentage of contributions below a certain threshold will be redirected toward the Republican National Convention as well as “Save America,” a new Republican Political Action Committee (PAC) created by the Trump campaign this week.
The donations webpage for the legal defense fund specifies that 60 percent of any given contribution, up to $5,000, will go to Save America, while 40 percent of each contribution will go to the RNC’s operating account. Only after money is given to Save America and the RNC will cash then go into the campaign’s recount legal fund.
The funds collected by Save America will be controlled by Trump, who will be able to allocate the money toward any number of Republicans challenging Democrats in races around the country. The money can also go toward covering Trump’s travel and lodging expenses as he campaigns for future candidates, according to Reuters.
That means that Save America could lay the groundwork for Trump to play a crucial role in determining which Republicans will succeed in the 2022 primaries.
With their share of donations, the RNC will also be able to allocate money to ongoing and future Republican political campaigns across the country.
VICE News reached out to both the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee to ask why a significant portion or donations were not going straight to the president’s legal fund, but we did not hear back.
This isn’t the first time Trump campaign donations have come into question. Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that 50 percent of donations solicited by Trump’s “Make America Great Again Committee” would actually go toward covering Trump’s campaign debt instead of legal cost.
Even though the 2020 election was called for President-elect Joe Biden last week, President Trump has been involved in several legal battles in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arizona, Nevada, and Michigan, according to the AP. Last week, the Biden campaign announced it would be kicking off a legal fund of its own, called the Biden Fight Fund.