Former president Donald Trump’s proved himself his party’s most powerful fundraiser in the first six months of the year, amassing a political treasure chest of $102 million by the end of June, according to filings made public on Saturday.
The sums, which are extraordinary for an ex-president who has been booted off social media, testify to the power of Trump’s online donor base and the deep financial reservoir available to him if he chooses to seek the White House a third time. They also reveal how the former president has reaped financial rewards while claiming the election was stolen from him.
Since leaving office, Trump has continued to vigorously solicit donations from supporters, based mostly on false claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election. His reported haul eclipsed that of his party’s House and Senate campaign arms, and was outpaced only slightly by the Republican National Committee, which raised $84 million in the first half of the year.
The former president has been clear with loyalists about how they should spend their money — on groups sanctioned by him alone, and not through the party’s traditional fundraising apparatus. In a February speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference, his first since leaving office, he told the audience to give directly to him.
“There’s only one way to contribute to our efforts to elect ‘America First’ Republican conservatives and, in turn, to make America great again,” Trump said, “and that’s through Save America PAC and DonaldJTrump.com.”
That PAC brought in $62 million from January through June. In addition to Save America — a leadership PAC set up by Trump shortly after his loss last November — the former president is also raising money through his Make America Great Again PAC, a repurposed campaign account, as well as a joint fundraising committee that directs funds to both.
But the fundraising haul was boosted by large sums of money raised in 2020. Trump’s joint account with the RNC, called the Trump Make America Great Again Committee, transferred $53.8 million to the Save America PAC and $5.8 million to the Make America Great Again PAC while bringing in just $29.8 million in new funds so far this year, according to the committee’s filing, suggesting as much as $30 million of the new funds touted by Trump actually came from donations made before the start of the year.
Jason Miller, a Trump ally and former spokesman, defended the reported haul by saying it represents “all new revenues to Save America for this period.”
Trump has broad latitude in how he can spend the money, including on travel and political activities, and has signaled that he may use the resources to exert influence on next year’s midterms, boost candidates he favors and take revenge against those who have spoken out against him. The prolific fundraising also gives him the ability to tap an alternative source of money as his company endures escalating investigations.
So far, Trump has held on to most of the cash, declining, for instance, to bankroll the ongoing ballot review in Arizona or to finance efforts to initiate similar undertakings in other states.
Trump’s PAC collected $75 million this year, but so far the group has not put money into pushing for the 2020 ballot reviews he touts
“This man has no intention of going away,” said Dan K. Eberhart, a major Republican donor and chief executive of the Colorado oil services company Canary who has been critical of Trump in the past. “To me, the $64,000 question is how much money he’s going to spend on primaries. Is he going to save it for himself, or is he going to go completely nuts on five different House races and spend a tremendous amount of money?”
So far, said Eberhart, “it seems like he’s going to go all out for his chosen people.”