Despite departing from office and being barred from the leading social media platforms, former President Donald J. Trump was the Republican Party’s most dominant fund-raiser in the first half of 2021 and ended June with a war chest of more than $100 million, according to new federal campaign filings made this weekend.
Mr. Trump raised far more money than any other Republican via WinRed, the party’s main processing site for online donations, records show, and more than each of the three main fund-raising arms of the Republican Party itself. His nearly $102 million in cash on hand was also more than each of the party committees.
The next strongest online fund-raiser among Republican politicians was Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, who delivered the G.O.P. response to President Biden’s first address to Congress in the spring. Mr. Scott raised $7.8 million online.
Mr. Trump’s advisers inaccurately announced on Saturday that “his affiliated political committees raised nearly $82 million” in the first six months of 2021.
That figure counted at least $23 million in transfers to his new political action committees that had actually been raised last year in other Trump-affiliated accounts, according to an analysis of federal filings.
A spokesman for Mr. Trump did not immediately comment on the discrepancy other than to defend the operation’s accounting.
All told, WinRed’s filings showed that Mr. Trump had collected more than $56 million online into various accounts in the first six months of the year.
The biggest share, $34.3 million, came into a shared account with the Republican National Committee, which is known as the Trump Make America Great Again Committee; Mr. Trump’s political action committee is set to receive 75 percent of what went into the shared account, and the party received 25 percent.
In addition, Mr. Trump raised more than $21 million online directly into two new Save America political action committees that he controls.
Mr. Trump has made denying the fact that he lost the 2020 election — which Mr. Biden won by a popular vote margin of seven million — a centerpiece of his post-presidency. He has argued repeatedly, without evidence, that the election was decided fraudulently even after losing waves of legal challenges, including at the Supreme Court.
He credited that false fight for his financial backing. “On behalf of the millions of men and women who share my outrage and want me to continue to fight for the truth,” Mr. Trump said in a statement, “I am grateful for your support.”
The campaign fund-raising data, filed with the Federal Election Commission, covers the first six months of 2021.
Mr. Trump raised by far the most online money among any Republican, even though he had paused many of his online solicitations starting on Jan. 6, the day of the Capitol riot, through the end of February.
Mr. Trump made his first post-presidential speech, at the Conservative Political Action Conference, in late February and urged supporters to give to him instead of any other G.O.P. entity, positioning himself as a potential rival to the existing Republican Party apparatus.
“There’s only one way to contribute to our efforts to elect ‘America First’ Republican conservatives and, in turn, to make America great again,” Mr. Trump said on Feb. 28. “And that’s through Save America, PAC, and DonaldJTrump.com.”
Mr. Trump scored a bonanza of donations: nearly $3.5 million across his various PACs.
It was also WinRed’s single biggest day of 2021, records show.
Mr. Trump’s public events and pronouncements appear closely intertwined with his fund-raising. For instance, Mr. Trump’s short-lived launch of what amounted to a blog page to share his thoughts and opinions on political developments, called “From the Desk of Donald J. Trump,” was widely ridiculed in early May as a poor substitute for a social media platform. The page was soon scrapped.
But the site still appears to have generated real cash for the Trump operation.
His Save America committee had raised an average of $108,000 in the five days leading up to the launch of the “desk” page; the PAC raised roughly $421,000 per day on average in the five days after, including more than $900,000 on one day.
Much of the money raised by the Trump Make America Great Again Committee came through Mr. Trump’s recurring donation program, which guided countless supporters into unwittingly making repeat donations through the use of prechecked boxes.
A New York Times investigation this year showed how the program spurred a wave of fraud complaints and demands for refunds, which continued into 2021.
Mr. Trump’s fund-raising slowed over the course of the first six months of the year. In January, the month of the Capitol riot and his subsequent impeachment in the waning days of his presidency, Mr. Trump raised $13.8 million that went into the Trump Make America Great Again Committee.
By June, that sum had shrunk, though it was still a robust $2.6 million, almost entirely through recurring donations. As of July, party officials had stopped the withdrawals, according to a person familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the party’s internal financial dealings.
Source: NYT > U.S. > Politics