The Trump re-election campaign warned donors not to get duped into giving to a friendly-seeming political organization – and in the process violated federal law, a pair of campaign finance watchdogs allege.
The campaign urged supporters this week to steer clear of solicitations from so-called "scam PACs," fundraising operations that raise money only to perpetuate their own existence and feather the nests of their operators. The warning came after revelations that the Presidential Coalition has raised $18.5 million since 2017 (with branding suggesting collaboration with Trump) but only spent 2 percent of its revenue on political activities. The rest went to support the super PAC's leader, David Bossie, a former Trump deputy campaign manager and still one of his most high-profile conservative allies. The details about the group's operation were reported by the Campaign Legal Center and Axios.
"Their actions show they are interested in filling their own pockets with money from innocent Americans paychecks," the Trump campaign said, without mentioning the Presidential Coalition by name. "We encourage the appropriate authorities to investigate all alleged scam groups for potential illegal activities."
The same warning also underscored that there are only four authorized fundraising committees and one "approved" super PAC, America First Action, raising money for the president's re-election.
Mentioning America First Action, without specifying there's a $5,000 donation limit to super PACs, violated federal law because doing so was seemingly a solicitation for unlimited contributions, Campaign Legal Center and End Citizens United alleged in a complaint filed Thursday with the Federal Election Commission.
"If candidates are not punished for working hand-in-hand with super PACs, campaigns will stretch the legal boundaries until there is no way to prevent the corruption of candidates beholden to big money," Adav Noti, CLC's chief of staff, said in a statement.
Whether such a technical violation will draw the attention of the FEC, which routinely deadlocks on far more egregious violations, is unclear at best.
News. Community. Debate. Levers for better democracy.
Sign up for The Fulcrum newsletter.
RepresentUs acquired 8,000 signatures on a petition asking Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez to keep working on a "revolving door" bill. Paula Barkan, Austin chapter leader of RepresentUs, handed the petition to Brandon Simon, Cruz's Central Texas regional director, on July 31.
Remember that tweet exchange in May between Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the one where they discussed bipartisan legislation to ban former members of Congress from becoming lobbyists?
To recap: Ocasio-Cortez tweeted her support for legislation banning the practice in light of a report by the watchdog group Public Citizen, which found that nearly 60 percent of lawmakers who recently left Congress had found jobs with lobbying firms. Cruz tweeted back, extending an invitation to work on such a bill. Ocasio-Cortez responded, "Let's make a deal."
The news cycle being what it is, it's easy to forget how the media jumped on the idea of the Texas Republican and the New York Democrat finding common ground on a government ethics proposal. Since then, we've collectively moved on — but not everyone forgot.
The government reform group RepresentUs recently drafted a petition asking Cruz and Ocasio-Cortez to follow through on their idea, gathering more than 8,000 signatures.
Sixty percent of young adults in the United States believe other people "can't be trusted," according to a recent Pew Research survey, which found that younger Americans were far more likely than older adults to distrust both institutions and other people. But adults of all ages did agree on one thing: They all lack confidence in elected leaders.
While united in a lack of confidence, the cohorts disagreed on whether that's a major problem. The study found that young adults (ages 18-29) were less likely than older Americans to believe that poor confidence in the federal government, the inability of Democrats and Republicans to work together, and the influence of lobbyists and special interest groups were "very big problems."