President Donald Trump’s campaign is raising money for a prolonged political and legal fight long after Nov. 3 and recently began automatically checking a box to withdraw additional weekly contributions from online donors through mid-December — nearly six weeks after Election Day.
Predicting “FRAUD like you’ve never seen,” the language on Trump’s website opts contributors into making the weekly postelection donations “to ensure we have the resources to protect the results and keep fighting even after Election Day.” Users must proactively click to avoid making multiple contributions.
The unusual postelection revenue stream would help Trump pay off any bills that his campaign accumulates before Tuesday — a campaign spokesperson said no such debts had been incurred — and could help fund a lengthy legal fight if the results are contested.
“This race will be very close, and it is possible that multiple states will require recounts and potential additional spending from our campaign,” said Tim Murtaugh, a spokesperson for Trump’s campaign. “The election process this year is under extraordinary circumstances, and we are also anticipating that Silicon Valley will attempt to interfere with our online fundraising efforts postelection.”
Democrats said automatically opting contributors into postelection giving was a misleading tactic.
“They’re inventing new deceptive tactics to essentially steal money from people,” said Mike Nellis, a Democratic digital strategist with an expertise in fundraising. “They’re going completely and totally scorched earth on their own supporters.”
Murtaugh said that no one would receive a “recurring charge without their knowledge” and that donors could opt out of recurring contributions. “Three days before each recurring charge, donors are emailed a reminder that the charge is about to occur,” he said. “There is a one-click link inside this email for donors to cancel if they wish. Our process is extremely transparent.”
“When the recount or litigation process ends,” Murtaugh added, “the recurring payments will end.”
The extra donations are the latest tactic employed by the Trump operation as it struggles to keep up financially with Joe Biden’s campaign. On Friday, the campaign promised supporters that their contributions would be matched “1000%,” after months of ratcheting up the levels of matches that campaign experts said almost surely do not actually exist.