(James Devaney/GC Images)
Former President Donald Trump has amassed 10 times more campaign cash than he had four years ago, and he’s already resuming fundraising efforts ahead of intra-party clashes in the 2022 midterms and a potential 2024 presidential run.
Trump’s leadership PAC, Save America PAC, had $85 million in the bank through March, CNBC reported this week. That’s up from $31 million through the end of 2020. The group will officially file its fundraising and spending figures with the Federal Election Commission by April 15.
Bolstered by a constant stream of online donations from diehard supporters, Trump is in a stronger financial position than he was four years ago. Through the first three months of 2017, his campaign reported having about $8.4 million in the bank. Trump began fundraising for reelection shortly after taking office, giving him a significant head start in the 2020 race.
The former president has far more cash than the GOP critics he will attempt to unseat next year. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) announced last week that his own leadership PAC — launched to support anti-Trump Republicans — raised $1.1 million through March.
Trump is ramping up his fundraising efforts that slowed down after the Jan. 6 Capitol riots, Politico reported. On Wednesday, Trump’s online merchandise store reopened, once again selling the red MAGA hats that helped Trump raise huge money from small donors. Trump’s political operation is sending texts to supporters to promote the store.
Whether that money will help Republicans win in 2022 is an open question, and one that GOP officials are asking among themselves. Trump has urged his supporters to bankroll his PAC rather than donate to GOP party committees committed to helping elect Republicans to the House and Senate. One of those groups, the National Republican Congressional Committee said it had nearly $30 million in the bank through March.
“I readily acknowledge the former president will continue to have a strong fundraising base for himself,” Bill Palatucci, a Republican National Committee member from New Jersey told McClatchy DC. “It remains to be seen if he’s willing to share it or not.”
Top GOP donors will meet at an RNC event in Palm Beach, Fla., this weekend to discuss the future of the party. Trump will speak at a cocktail party at Mar-a-Lago the same weekend. Some Republican donors have expressed concern over Trump’s lack of interest in the Georgia Senate races, which handed Democrats control of Congress. Trump told donors in fundraising appeals he would boost the Georgia Republicans, but his political operation didn’t spend anything to support them. Trump did run ads falsely stating the presidential election in Georgia was rigged, potentially hurting GOP turnout.
While it’s unclear how much financial support Trump will provide to Republicans in the midterms, he’s already dishing out coveted endorsements. This week, Trump endorsed Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) in the Alabama Senate contest. He also endorsed Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), all of whom are up for reelection in 2022.
Trump said in a statement Friday that Rubio “ruled that ‘President Trump was in no way involved with Russia,’ as he presided over the Senate Intelligence Committee on the FAKE Russia, Russia, Russia, Hoax.”
In addition to his leadership PAC — which can spend money to support candidates and freely funnel cash to Trump-owned properties — Trump is reportedly planning to launch a super PAC to influence midterm races. During the 2016 campaign, Trump railed against super PACs, calling them “corrupt” and accusing his primary opponents of being “puppets” of wealthy donors.
Trump’s former aides are also attempting to build a “dark money” network, Politico reported. Some GOP strategists reportedly are alarmed by Democrats’ striking dark money advantage in the 2020 election. OpenSecrets reported last month that secret donors spent $514 million to boost Democrats and just $200 million to back Republicans. President Joe Biden received nearly six times more dark money support than Trump.
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Karl joined the Center for Responsive Politics in October 2018. As CRP’s money-in-politics reporter, he writes and edits stories for the news section and helps manage a team of diligent writers. A native of Brooklyn, New York, Karl graduated from State University of New York at New Paltz in 2016 with a B.A. in journalism. He previously worked at The Globe, a regional newspaper based in Worthington, Minnesota. His email is [email protected]