Over the weekend, the e-mail list created for Herman Cain's 2012 presidential bid sent out an e-mail paid for by Donald J. Trump for President that encouraged contributions to the candidate. The language in that e-mail matches the language of a draft e-mail hosted at Newsmax's Web site. That draft e-mail is also referred to in the e-mail apparently sent by Omar J. Rodriguez, director of advertising sales at Newsmax. (The full letter is at the bottom of this post.)
"Recently Newsmax became the exclusive online representative for the Trump campaign for their online fundraising," the e-mail from Rodriguez reads, according to a copy that was forwarded to the Post. "The Trump team is willing to pay 3rd party email list owners like yourself 30 percent of gross donations made to your email list. We launched this donation effort on Newsmax to our internal lists this past weekend, and it has been a huge hit, to say the least."
Andrew Brown, chief operating officer for Newsmax Media, confirmed the relationship to the Post, but wouldn't share details on its success or the scale of the outreach.
"Currently we are representing Mr. Tump's online fundraising campaign," Brown said. He added that the Trump campaign is "one of several presidential campaigns that are advertising with Newsmax Media" at the moment. "We have a four-million user e-mail list that is one of the best in conservative circles," Brown said, "and we have relationships with a number of other conservative e-mail lists."
He wouldn't confirm that the Cain e-mail came through Newsmax, but did note that they'd "worked with Mr. Cain in the past and continue to do so."
Trump has repeatedly argued that he doesn't need to raise money for his campaign from lobbyists, given his enormous wealth. Oddly, the e-mail itself mentions that wealth. In it, Trump says, "I am very rich and I created something very special. I want to make you and the American people rich."
In its first campaign fundraising report, Trump's campaign listed just $96,000 in contributions -- a paltry sum by presidential campaign standards which makes clear Trump hadn't been aggressively attempting to raise money himself.
A 30 percent fee isn't atypically large, according to fundraising consultant Carter Kidd. "I would guess that's about right" for a fee, Kidd said. "It depends on the individual agreement. There are some lists out there that are really good and some that might not be as strong." Without knowing specifically who was offered the deal from Newsmax, though, it's hard to know how good the lists were.
The e-mail from Rodriguez, which apparently targeted multiple organizations including other conservative news outlets, adds an enticement on how lucrative the agreement might be: "While I know you don't normally do rev-shares, we think this will be highly profitable."
It's fair to wonder why the campaign is suddenly interested in fundraising pitches. Often, campaigns rent e-mail lists in order to build their own contact database -- but doing that with a fundraising pitch would certainly reduce its effectiveness.
On Sunday, BuzzFeed reported rumors from anonymous staff members at another conservative Web site, Breitbart.com, that the site had received money from Trump's campaign for the purposes of garnering favor in its coverage. That article suggested a direct relationship between Trump money and editorial output; Breitbart has said the report is untrue. (In an interview with the Daily Beast, former Trump staffer Roger Stone joked that the report had prompted Newsmax's editor in chief to ask where his payoff was.) At the very least, a lucrative agreement to secure contributions for Trump would build a positive relationship with conservative media outlets.
"[P]lease note these are considered paid ads," the e-mail from Rodriguez concludes, "and don’t imply an endorsement on the part of Newsmax or by any third party affiliate like yourself for the Trump campaign."
The e-mail from Newsmax:
Recently Newsmax became the exclusive online representative for the Trump campaign for their online fundraising.
The Trump team is willing to pay 3rd party email list owners like yourself 30 percent of gross donations made to your email list.
We launched this donation effort on Newsmax to our internal lists this past weekend, and it has been a huge hit, to say the least.
We expect with the Fox debate this week and more news about Trump in the coming weeks – these ads will get tremendous lift.
While I know you don’t normally do rev-shares, we think this will be highly profitable. You can start with the email copy below and the Trump campaign will be sending up updated copy as time goes on.
If you posted Trump banners and links to your sites, which we will provide to you, they would link through with unique tracking codes to the landing page with the Urgent Letter from Donald Trump.
See example here:
With August being a slow month, we think this could be a win-win!
Also, please note these are considered paid ads, and don’t imply an endorsement on the part of Newsmax or by any third party affiliate like yourself for the Trump campaign.
Let me know if this would be of interest . . . .
Omar J. Rodriguez
Director of Advertising Sales
Newsmax Media, Inc.