So Tim Watts is my new best friend in the Australian federal parliament. MP Tim Watts. Needless to say, we’re pals now because he’s getting bombarded by the Trump campaign asking for money to fight ‘Crooked Hillary’. Among other things, Tim’s a Labor party member. So even apart from it being illegal for Trump to solicit funds from Tim (remember, Tim’s not an American citizen, being from Australia), their politics likely don’t line up. So as we’ve been researching Trump’s top foreign countries for fundraising, I’ve been curious whether the Trump campaign has now taken the actually quite simple steps required to purge its list of at least foreign government officials at their government email addresses.
The answer is: no. As recently as last night (US time) Tim was getting emails from Trump begging for more money ahead of the critical June FEC deadline – which we discussed yesterday.
But here’s where things got significantly weirder.
When I chatted with Tim last night (US Time) he said he’d gotten two more Trump emails in the last 7 hours hours. But when he showed me the emails, something pretty weird was immediately apparent.
They weren’t actually just from Trump. One was from the Trump campaign. The other was from a pro-Trump Super Pac called Crippled America PAC.
Now, normally (i.e., completely separate from anything to do with Trump) it would be entirely unremarkable that someone was getting fundraising emails both from a campaign and also Super PACs supporting the campaign. They’re likely both buying lists from the same vendor or even different vendors of likely Trump voters.
But remember, Tim is a foreign citizen and part of the government in another country. We’ve already speculated about the various ways all these foreign legislators could have ended up on Trump’s list. The more we’ve looked into it, it seems increasingly implausible that he got this list from a list vendor. Not impossible just not likely at all. It now seems more probable that the Trump Organization simply had these emails in some business related database and decided to dump them into the email hopper for the fundraising blitz or just found some site that had a zip file of foreign government officials and used that. As I’ve said, all of these possibilities are outlandish and ridiculous. But we know for a fact that he has and continues to spam members of Parliament in the UK, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland and Iceland and possibly others. So one of these completely preposterous set of facts has to be true.
And here’s where we get to coordination, which is a big no no.
Given what I’ve said above, the existence of this list almost has to originate in Trump Derpland. A virtual certainty. So how did the same list end up in the hands of a Trump SuperPac? I looked up Crippled America PAC and as of their last filing just a couple weeks ago, they’re total budget was $40. No m or b after that $ sign, forty bucks, the price of a fancy dinner. So obviously CAP was just stood up and actually started operating just now. And now they’re showing up in Tim’s inbox.
Again, normally you’d just say, they’re both buying the list from the same vendor. I’m also pretty sure that a good campaign finance lawyer could find a way to get lists from a campaign to its supportive SuperPacs without running afoul of the rules against campaigns coordinating with SuperPacs. But let’s be honest, does any of this look like its done by anyone who has the slightest clue about fundraising or campaign finance law? Of course, not.
Just imagine the conversation: We’ve got our choice list of members of foreign governments emails. Get me some sharp lawyers and find an arm’s length, pass legal muster way to get this list to our SuperPACs. Obviously the foreign parliamentarians are likely piled in with the AOL accounts of your grandpa who died in 2001 and a lot of other people who don’t exist or aren’t Americans. But the point is this: it seems extremely likely that this email list was put together by the Trump campaign. Now it seems to be in the hands of at least one Trump supporting SuperPac. Campaigns and SuperPACs are not allowed to coordinate. And there’s nothing about this operation that gives any reason to believe they did this in a way to even try to make it pass legal muster.
Meanwhile, I’m going to check in with Tim and find out what Trump SuperPACs are hitting him up for cash today.