Disgraced former President Donald Trump has another scandal on his hands that could land him in more legal peril after his campaign got caught scamming his own supporters out of their money during the 2020 Election.
For those in the back, Trump LOST the election to President Joe Biden by 7 million votes and a wide electoral margin. In the run-up to his embarrassing defeat, Trump and his campaign were begging for money and his supporters were all too happy to contribute. But not in the amounts that they ended up donating without their knowledge.
As it turns out, Trump’s campaign team created an online mechanism designed to automatically double a person’s donation and make that payment recurring.
According to the New York Times:
Facing a cash crunch and getting badly outspent by the Democrats, the campaign had begun last September to set up recurring donations by default for online donors, for every week until the election. Contributors had to wade through a fine-print disclaimer and manually uncheck a box to opt out. As the election neared, the Trump team made that disclaimer increasingly opaque, an investigation by The New York Times showed. It introduced a second prechecked box, known internally as a “money bomb,” that doubled a person’s contribution. Eventually its solicitations featured lines of text in bold and capital letters that overwhelmed the opt-out language.
Many Trump supporters eventually noticed and demanded refunds in unprecedented numbers.
Political strategists, digital operatives and campaign finance experts said they could not recall ever seeing refunds at such a scale. Mr. Trump, the R.N.C. and their shared accounts refunded far more money to online donors in the last election cycle than every federal Democratic candidate and committee in the country combined. Over all, the Trump operation refunded 10.7 percent of the money it raised on WinRed in 2020; the Biden operation’s refund rate on ActBlue, the parallel Democratic online donation-processing platform, was 2.2 percent, federal records show.
Some saw their bank accounts emptied.
“It felt like it was a scam,” said Russell Blatt, whose brother Stacy in hospice care was “opted in” to monthly payments after making what he thought was a one-time contribution to Trump, then was confused why his utility checks started bouncing. Victor Amelio, a 78-year-old retiree in California, donated $990 in September via the Republican portal WinRed, and before he knew it the “opt in” he had never checked debited $8,000 of his money to the Trump campaign. “Bandits!” he told The Times. “I can’t afford to pay all that damn money.”
Frankly, it’s hard to feel sorry for those Trump scammed out of their money. After all, they had been warned repeatedly that he’s a con man and grifter. His “charity” turned out to be a scam, as did Trump University. Trump even funneled campaign donations into his businesses to pay debts, which is likely where Blatt’s and Amelio’s money went.
Trump screwed over his own supporters with lies and scams, yet somehow many of them still worship him. It’s beyond pathetic. Trump is already being sued over the Capitol insurrection he incited and is being investigated for a number of scandals. Now he faces more lawsuits and even prosecution for stealing money from those who literally had no problem trying to overthrow democracy for him.
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