Tag Archives: big ripoff

Once A Grifter…

Whenever there is discussion on this blog about why thus-and-so happened, someone will inevitably post a comment containing “follow the money.” I wish I could say I disagree with the premise that–no matter what the subject is–money is a substantial part of the explanation, but I can’t. (The problem with dismissing adages of this sort is that, no matter how hackneyed, they tend to reflect reality.)

One of the most illuminating aspects of  the testimony that emerged from the June 13th hearing  of theJanuary 6th Committee was the obscene amount of money Trump raised in the run-up to January 6th–and the blatant dishonesty of the way he raised and distributed it. As the Daily Beast reported,

The committee also alleged that the Trump campaign and its allies used those false claims to exploit donors, to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars. In perhaps the most egregious instance, multiple campaign officials told the committee that the “official election defense fund” mentioned in fundraising emails didn’t even exist. It was just a marketing ploy to extract money, which was then divvied up among a number of accounts.

And while Trump and GOP allies did end up igniting millions of dollars on the legal altar, most of the donations went elsewhere. A slide put together by congressional investigators pointed out that $5 million went to Event Strategies, which helped set up the rally at The Ellipse near the White House where Trump fired up an angry crowd that later attacked the Capitol building. They also noted that last year, $1 million went to the nonprofit that hired his chief of staff Mark Meadows, with another $1 million going to the America First Policy Institute, which backed the social media lawsuit Trump lost in April. Another $204,857 was funneled to the Trump Hotel Collection.

“The Big Lie was also a big rip off,” Lofgren said.

Co-chair Liz Cheney (R-WY) said the panel would explore that element in a future hearing.

I can hardly wait…

As Representative Lofgren pointed out, people making these small donations are entitled to know where their money is actually going. According to the findings of the investigation, however, funds were not only diverted from their purported purpose, it wasn’t inadvertence; that was pretty clearly the intent from the start.

As the Independent reported,

Donald Trump’s presidential campaign raised $250 million from supporters by telling them the money would be used to fight voter fraud, but the campaign knew those claims of fraud were bogus and instead diverted the money to his own political organisation, the House committee investigating the January 6 attacked claimed on Monday.

Mr Trump’s campaign sent millions of fundraising emails to supporters encouraging them to donate to help fight voter fraud between election day and January 6, the committee said. Many of those emails asked supporters to donate to an “election defense fund” for legal cases related to the election.

 However, an investigator for the committee said that fund did not exist, and most of that money went Mr Trump’s ‘Save America’ political action committee, not to election-related litigation.

“The evidence highlights how the Trump campaign pushed false election claims to fundraise, telling supporters it would be used to fight voter fraud that did not exist,” said Amanda Wick, senior investigative counsel for the House committee.

“The Trump campaign knew these claims of voter fraud were false yet they continued to barrage small-dollar donors with emails encouraging them to donate to something called the ‘Official Election Defense fund.’ The select committee discovered no such fund existed,” she added.

Everything this man ever touched was a grift–a con job. Trump steaks, vodka, University…the list goes on. Most sentient Americans concluded long ago that–in addition to his repellent personal characteristics–Trump was a petty crook, not a businessman.

The question we confront isn’t whether Trump himself was guilty of lies big and small, or whether he constantly engaged in unethical and illegal activities. We know the answer to that. The question–to which I have absolutely no answer–is why so many Americans see him as somehow admirable, as someone deserving of their loyalty and money.

The only answer that makes any sense is that these people–these members of the cult–live in an alternate reality, an information bubble in which Fox is actually a news organization, the My Pillow nutcase has access to classified information, Sidney Powell and Rudy Guliani are competent lawyers, and every “legacy” news source is part of a”deep state” conspiracy financed by George Soros that is lying to them.

There’s a diagnosis for people who believe those things…..