Even in defeat, US President Donald Trump continued to raise money at some of the fastest rates of the year. He has pulled in US$207.5 million ($293.9m) in the month since election day along with the Republican Party as he made baseless claims of voter fraud to undermine the legitimacy of the election.
Trump's campaign apparatus has continued to aggressively solicit donations under the guise of supporting his various legal challenges to the election of Joe Biden, but 75 per cent of donations now goes to a new political action committee (PAC) that Trump formed in mid-November, up to the PAC's legal limit of US$5000. The other 25 per cent goes to the Republican National Committee (RNC).
Only if a donor gives more than US$6000 do any funds go to Trump's formal "recount" account.
His campaign did not release a breakdown of how the US$207.5m was divided. The funds are split among the new PAC, called Save America, the RNC and two committees operated jointly by the party and the campaign. Some money is helping pay off Trump's campaign debts.
"These tremendous fundraising numbers show President Trump remains the leader and source of energy for the Republican Party," said Bill Stepien, Trump's campaign manager.
Trump, who has not formally conceded the 2020 race but has begun talking about running again in 2024, has repeatedly challenged the presidential results in court with virtually no success.
The Trump campaign sent these four fundraising texts to their supporters yesterday. The grift is sounding more and more frantic. pic.twitter.com/Yt4GuHEzZ9— Joy WE VOTED!! WEAR A MASK!! Reid 😷) (@JoyAnnReid) November 29, 2020
Stepien added that the money "also positions President Trump to continue leading the fight to clean up our corrupt elections process in so many areas around the country, and to build on gains from the 2020 elections so we can take back the House and build on our Senate majority in 2022".
Trump's next political steps are much discussed in both parties, and his nonstop fundraising in the month after his loss at the polls ensures his new political operation - whatever shape it takes - will continue to be well-financed.
He can use the new PAC to hire staff and pay for political travel, like his rally on Sunday in Georgia, where two runoff elections on January 5 will determine control of the US Senate.
Some of Trump's fundraising solicitations have veered from simply disputing the results of November's election. His campaign, for instance, offered donors who gave US$45 on Thursday an "iconic" Christmas ornament (it features a photo of Trump, in a red hat, and the words "We're saying Merry Christmas again!").
The announcement that he had raised US$207.5m in one month came on a final filing deadline of the 2020 race with the Federal Election Commission, which covers October 15 to November 23.
During that period, the RNC, Trump's campaign and their shared committees raised a combined US$495m, campaign officials announced.
As of early evening, only the RNC had filed its report, which showed it ended the period with US$58.8m on hand - a large sum for a party at the end of a campaign.
As Trump has contested the results in multiple locations, the party had spent more than US$6m on legal bills, with US$1.4m going to the Jones Day law firm, US$1.3m to King & Spalding and more than US$920,000 to Consovoy McCarthy.
The party's biggest expense was US$42.4m to a limited liability company, Digital Consulting Group, with a limited public footprint. The party has made its third payment of US$666,666 to Reuters News & Media for "legal proceedings" related to intellectual property, for a total of US$2m that the party and company have previously declined to discuss.
The filings also showed that casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam Adelson, spent nearly US$210m on the 2020 election, with US$90m going to a pro-Trump super PAC, US$70m to a Senate GOP super PAC and US$40m to a House Republican super PAC, plus millions more to various committees.
Written by: Shane Goldmacher
© 2020 THE NEW YORK TIMES