Trump's efforts got a major lift from a small group of wealthy donors who contributed as much as $449,400 each to Trump Victory, the biggest amount ever solicited by such a committee. Such super-sized checks are now possible thanks to a 2014 Supreme Court decision, along with a measure tucked into a spending bill later that year that loosened party fundraising rules.
Trump's first round of fundraising in conjunction with the Republican National Committee shows how lucrative it is to turn to the uber-rich for support. But it also illustrates how dependent it makes the real estate developer on the party, which gets to pocket the lion's share of the big-money contributions.
Thirteen supporters gave Trump Victory the $449,400 maximum. They included Dallas banker Andy Beal, whose banks have loaned Trump hundreds of millions; billionaire technology entrepreneur Darwin Deason and his wife, Katerina; Palm Beach developer E. Llwyd Ecclestone and his wife, Diana; New York conservative benefactor Rebekah Mercer; Laura Perlmutter, who is married to Marvel Entertainment chief executive Isaac Perlmutter; San Diego real estate developer Doug Manchester and his wife, Geniya; and Las Vegas casino mogul Phil Ruffin, a close friend of Trump who is set to speak at the Republican National Convention.
Most of the money they donate is allotted for the RNC, which received a $10.1 million transfer from the committee. But not all of that money can be used freely. More than $4 million was earmarked for the party's convention and legal accounts — funds that cannot be used to pay for the RNC's political efforts on the ground. An additional $1.5 million was raised for the RNC's "headquarters" account, which party officials plan to use to help finance field offices around the country.
Trump Victory raised $25.7 million in all during the second quarter of the year, while a second joint fundraising committee called Trump Make America Great Again brought in $6.7 million, new campaign finance filings show. The Trump campaign, which can only accept donations of up to $5,400 per person, announced earlier this month that it had brought in $19.9 million in direct donations in June, while Trump personally contributed another $3.8 million. Trump Victory transferred $2.2 million to the campaign, meaning his committee brought in roughly $26 million in June.
That still falls short of the $40.5 million that Democratic contender Hillary Clinton raised for her campaign in June. She collected nearly $87 million through two joint fundraising committees in the second quarter, new filings show.