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Donald Trump and family could take salary out of donations for court battles, small print reveals

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Donald Trump and his family could take a salary out of donations for court battles, small print on emails sent by new fundraising arm reveals

  • Donald Trump is seeking donations for a legal battle to fight the election result
  • But most of the money is going to a new leadership PAC Save America
  • Leadership PACs have loose rules on spending compared to other funds
  • It means he can keep his political operation running and fund staff and expenses 
  • Campaign finance experts fears it could become a ‘slush fund’ for the family  

By Jack Newman For Mailonline

Published: | Updated:

Donald Trump‘s election recount donations could be used as a political slush fund for his family, campaign finance experts have warned.

The President has been seeking donations and selling merchandise to raise funds to ‘stop the Left from trying to steal the election’.

The campaign have been sending hundreds of emails and texts to supporters in a bid to help Trump’s legal challenges to overturn the election result.

Donald Trump’s election recount donations could be used as a political slush fund for his family, campaign finance experts have warned

But the fine print shows that most of the money will go to a new fundraising arm, Save America.

The organization is a leadership Political Action Committee (PAC) launched by Trump less than a week after the election.

Leadership PACs are often set up by current politicians to raise money and are often used for political influence.

Tim Murtaugh, a Trump campaign spokesman, told CNN that the President had ‘always planned’ to set up a leadership PAC ‘win or lose, so he can support candidates and issues he cares about, such as combating voter fraud.’

The legal fine print on the emails to supporters states that the first 75 per cent of every contribution up to $5,000 will go to Save America.

Once the threshold is met, money then goes into the campaign’s fund for the recount fight.

The rules on leadership PACs are loose so money can be used for salaries and personal expenses

A quarter of the funds also goes to the Repulican National Committee’s operating account. 

Politicians often use leadership PACs to donate to other similar politicians and maintain their profile with the public and their own party.

But they are also vehicles for future campaign and can fund staff, polling and travel.

Spending rules for leadership PACs are loose so the money can be used for a number of means.

Therefore, Save America could help Trump fund a 2024 presidential bid and keep his political operation running for the next four years, paying his staff which includes family members. 

Fundraising limits on leadership PACs are higher than candidate committees, with an individual able to donate up to $5,000 a year.

This means a politician can rake in $20,000 over four years from one donor.

Save America could help Trump fund a 2024 presidential bid and keep his political operation running for the next four years

But for a candidate committee for a presidential campaign, a donor can only give a maximum of $2,800.  

The relaxed spending rules mean Trump can even use the funds for personal expenses, which is not allowed in a presidential campaign account. 

He could also direct the money towards his business by hosting PAC events at one of his many properties, because of the relaxed rules. 

It has led campaign finance experts to warn that Trump could solicit funds for his election recount legal challenges, but then use the money for other means.

Paul Ryan, vice president of policy and litigation at Common Cause, said: ‘This money could easily, and legally, end up in his own pocket in the coming years.’

He added that after the legal challenges, Trump ‘could tease a 2024 run for years and continue milking his supporters for contributions to this slush fund’.

Save America will have to file its first public report, showing its fundraising and spending costs, on December 3.

But the report will only cover the first weeks of its dealings.  

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