By WILL STEAKIN, KATHERINE FAULDERS, JOHN SANTUCCI, and SOO RIN KIM, ABC News
(WASHINGTON) — In an apparent effort to retain future influence over the Republican Party, President Donald Trump has started fundraising through his re-election campaign for a new “Save America” PAC while still battling the 2020 election results in court.
The new PAC comes as Trump has refused to concede the election and has privately told allies that he may run for president again in 2024, according to sources familiar with the discussions.
According to Save America’s statement of organization filed to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), the committee was established on Monday. The filing says the new committee is affiliated with the Trump campaign and the Trump Make America Great Committee, a small-dollar focused, joint-fundraising committee between the president’s campaign and the RNC that has been sending out donor solicitation emails for Save America.
Save America is set up as a “leadership PAC,” which can be established by former and current members of Congress as well as by other prominent political figures, often with the purpose of advancing their political influence, according to its FEC filing.
Similar to regular political action committees, leadership PACs can only accept up to $5,000 per donor, far less than the upward of $800,000 donation that the Trump campaign and the Republican Party’s high-dollar joint fundraising committee Trump Victory could raise. But the new PAC can be used to fund fellow Republicans in Congress, a vehicle for Trump to continue to exert his reach over the Republican Party.
After Election Day, the Trump campaign launched an aggressive fundraising effort that includes relentless texts and emails to supporters soliciting donations for an “Official Election Defense Fund.” But the fine print of the Trump campaign’s donations page reveals that “60% of each contribution first to Save America, up to $5,000/$5,000,” the president’s newly established PAC.
The fine print initially stated that the same percentage of funds was going toward paying down the campaign’s debt, but the detailed fine print says that after up to $5,000 of the first 60% of the contribution goes to Save America, the rest of that 60%, up to $2,800/$5,000, goes to the Trump campaign’s “recount account.”
The other 40% of each contribution goes to the RNC’s “operating account, up to a maximum of $35,000/$15,000,” and any additional funds go to the RNC’s “Legal Proceedings account or the Headquarters account, up to a maximum of $213,000/$90,000,” according to the fine print.
The news was first reported by the New York Times.
The Trump campaign, still facing a prolonged cash crunch, has bombarded supporters with texts and emails soliciting donations in the wake of Election Day, in part to support the president’s litany of legal battles contesting election results in states across the country, which have largely been thrown out in court so far.
Since the election, the campaign has already fired off over 140 emails to supporters — sometimes maxing out at over 20 emails in a single day — at times begging supporters for donations.
“This is your FINAL NOTICE,” one email warned. “So far, you’ve ignored all our emails asking you to join us in DEFENDING THE ELECTION. You’ve ignored Team Trump, Eric, Lara, Don, the Vice President AND you’ve even ignored the President of the United States.”
Communications director for the Trump campaign, Tim Murtaugh, said the idea of forming a PAC is nothing new.
“The president always planned to do this, win or lose,” Murtaugh said in a statement to ABC News. “So he can support candidates and issues he cares about, such as combating voter fraud.”
President-elect Joe Biden too had started a leadership PAC shortly after leaving the White House in 2017. Between 2017 and 2020, Biden’s leadership PAC, American Possibilities, raised roughly $3 million and spent a sizable amount of that supporting other Democrats in Congress.
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