Trump’s New Fundraising Numbers Leave More Questions Than Answers

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at the California Republican Party 2016 convention in Burlingame, Calif., Friday, April 29, 2016. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
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The Donald Trump campaign on Wednesday released a statement boasting about its June fundraising haul, but the press release was convoluted and jumbled, making it unclear just how much money Trump raised for the campaign itself.

Campaign finance experts were unable to determine exactly how much money Trump raised for his campaign, as opposed to money raised for joint committees that also provide donations for national and state Republican parties.

“We have no idea from this how much money he actually raised for Trump’s campaign committee,” Brett Kappel, a campaign finance expert and partner at the Akerman law firm, told TPM regarding the Trump campaign’s new numbers.

The Trump campaign reported that it raised $51 million in June, but based on the statement, at least half of that appears to have been raised for joint fundraising efforts with the Republican National Committee and some of it may have been raised at the end of May.

News outlets struggled to make sense of the numbers, offering varying analyses without one clear conclusion on what Trump’s statement means about his June fundraising haul. Many news stories cited the $51 million figure as a total for Trump’s June fundraising, even though it appeared to include some money raised in May. The campaign did not respond to TPM’s request for comment.

Notably the Trump campaign statement did not include how much cash on hand Trump had going into July. His paltry cash on hand at the end of May was one of the most alarming aspects of his last FEC report for supporters and D.C. Republicans. The FEC report for June isn’t due until later this month.

In the statement, the Trump campaign boasts that the “campaign’s newly established digital and small dollar operation rolled out fundraising emails which resulted in over $26 million dollars in donations for June.”

It’s not clear whether the Trump campaign raised $26 million just through emails or raised $26 million total for the campaign and one of Trump’s joint fundraising efforts in June.

Of that $26 million, the Trump campaign said that it raised $19.9 million for the campaign itself and $6.6 million for the Trump Make America Great Again Committee, a joint fundraising committee between Trump and the RNC. The Wednesday statement from the campaign lumps these fundraising numbers together for the total of $26 million, but it’s not clear how much of the money raised for the Trump Make America Great Again Committee actually ended up in the Trump campaign’s coffers. Not all of the money raised through joint fundraising committees goes to the candidates themselves.

The statement also said that Trump himself contributed $3.8 million to the campaign, but it’s not apparent whether his donation is included in the $19.9 million the campaign reported raising in June. The Trump campaign wrote that the candidate “personally contributed $3.8 million to the campaign this month which brings total contributions to $55 million.” It appears, though it is not clear, that the campaign is adding the $3.8 million from Trump to the $51 million raised to arrive at a total of $55 million for June (though again that seems to include some May money).

The campaign also reported that it raised $25 million in the last week of May and the month of June for Trump Victory, a joint fundraising effort between the Trump campaign, the RNC, and several state Republican parties. Again, it’s not clear how much of that wound up with the Trump campaign, and it’s not apparent how much of that was raised in the month of June.

The jumble of numbers reported by the Trump campaign on Wednesday provides a fuzzy view of the campaign’s finances.

“The way the release is written makes it difficult to determine precisely how much Trump raised and for which committees and during which time period,” Rick Hasen, an election law expert and professor at the University of California at Irvine School of Law, told TPM. “So, we’ll have to wait for the official FEC report before we know for sure what the money figures actually look like.”

Regardless of how much of the sum Trump raised for joint efforts ends up with the campaign, his June fundraising haul pales in comparison to that of Hillary Clinton.

Late last week, the Clinton campaign reported that it raised a total of $68.5 million, $40.5 million of which went to the Clinton campaign and $28 million of which went to the Democratic National Committee and state parties through joint fundraising committees.

Though he is still lagging behind Clinton, it appears that Trump raised significantly more in June than in May. He raised only $3.1 million in May, according to the campaign’s FEC filing.

The full, confusing statement is below:


(New York, NY) July 6th, 2016 – Today the Donald J. Trump Campaign for President announced impressive totals from June’s fundraising efforts. The campaign’s newly established digital and small dollar operation rolled out fundraising emails which resulted in over $26 million dollars in donations for June ($19.9 million DJTFP efforts, and $6.6 million through TMAGA). This was made possible with over 400,000 supporters, with 94% of our supporters giving under $200. The first email solicitation, which contained an unprecedented $2 million match from Donald J. Trump, exceeded our goal, collecting over $3 million in contributions in one day. Donald J. Trump personally contributed $3.8 million to the campaign this month which brings total contributions to $55 million. The results from this month show the enthusiastic movement the campaign has created. People want to invest in a better future for America and Make America Great Again! The campaign very much appreciates the broad support.

The campaign, in conjunction with the RNC, also hosted 22 fundraising events throughout the country for Trump Victory, with contributions exceeding $25 million (which includes the last week of May and June). The Campaign is committed to working with the RNC to support its important operations for the Republican Party.

The fundraising team has built a top-tier operation in a short period of time led by Campaign Finance Chairman Steven Mnuchin and his RNC counterpart Lew Eisenberg, The campaign expects the success to continue throughout the summer with broad support on small dollar contributions via email solicitation from passionate supporters.

“We just started our fundraising efforts in the last week of May and we are extremely pleased with the broad-based support in the last five weeks for the Trump Campaign and Trump Victory. We want to thank our many volunteers and contributors that are committed to electing Donald J. Trump as President in November,” said Steven Mnuchin, Donald J. Trump for President Finance Chairman.

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