Follow The Money …

The Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) is a non-profit, nonpartisan research group based in Washington, D.C., that tracks the effects of money and lobbying on elections and public policy.  Its website, OpenSecrets.org, allows users to track federal campaign contributions and lobbying by lobbying firms, individual lobbyists, industry, “dark money”, federal agencies, and bills.  It is a valuable and reliable resource.

Yesterday, Open Secrets published the following article showing the connection between Donald Trump’s campaign fund and those who led the attack on Congress and the Capitol on January 6th.  Given this information, I think there cannot remain a single shred of doubt that Donald Trump used his money and influence to attempt to overturn our election and implement a takeover of the United States government.  Please take a moment to read this important piece …


Trump’s political operation paid more than $3.5 million to Jan. 6 organizers

By Anna Massoglia

February 10, 2021 9:22 am

As former President Donald Trump faces a Senate impeachment trial on charges of inciting attacks on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, unanswered questions about the full extent of his ties to a nearby rally the same day highlight the need for more campaign finance transparency.

Newly identified payments in recent Federal Election Commission filings show people involved in organizing the protests on Jan. 6 received even larger sums from Trump’s 2020 campaign than previously known.

OpenSecrets unearthed more than $3.5 million in direct payments from Trump’s 2020 campaign, along with its joint fundraising committees, to people and firms involved in the Washington, D.C. demonstration before a violent mob stormed the U.S. Capitol.

Recent FEC filings show at least three individuals listed on permit records for the Washington, D.C. demonstration were on the Trump campaign’s payroll through Nov. 30, 2020. 

The Trump campaign paid Event Strategies Inc., a firm named in a permit for the rally that also employed two individuals involved in the demonstration, as recently as Dec. 15, just three weeks before the attacks on the U.S. Capitol. That’s according to the most recent FEC filings covering spending through the end of 2020.

Trump’s role in a rally at the Washington, D.C., Ellipse shortly before the attacks on Jan. 6 is expected to take center stage in the impeachment trial. 

But the American public may never know the full extent of the Trump campaign’s payments to organizers involved in the protests. That’s because the campaign used an opaque payment scheme that concealed details of hundreds of millions of dollars in spending by routing payments through shell companies where the ultimate payee is hidden. 

Trump’s 2020 campaign and joint fundraising committee, the Trump Make America Great Again Committee, spent more than $771 million through American Made Media Consultants LLC, according to new data analyzed by OpenSecrets. The secretive limited-liability company was created by campaign aides and members of Trump’s inner circle to act as a “clearinghouse” to pay vendors, concealing the campaign’s transactions with those vendors. 

The FEC generally does not require campaigns to detail payments vendors make to subcontractors so long as the campaign does not have undue influence over the vendor and the subcontractor does not work under the direction or control of the campaign. But the role individuals in Trump’s inner circle played in creating the limited-liability company through which the campaign routed millions of dollars raises the question of whether the company is truly separate from the campaign. The former president’s son-in-law and White House advisor, Jared Kushner, reportedly helped create the limited-liability company and his daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, reportedly sat on its board

The nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center filed an FEC complaint alleging that the Trump campaign and its joint fundraising committee may have violated federal election reporting rules by “laundering” those funds and concealing details of the campaign’s financial dealings. 

During the 2020 election cycle, this payment scheme disguised hundreds of millions of dollars paid to firms acting on behalf of the campaign as well to Trump’s family members. Undisclosed beneficiaries of those payments reportedly included Lara Trump as well as campaign fundraiser Kimberly Guilfoyle, according to the complaint. The full roster of individuals working for Trump’s campaign remains hidden from the American public. Details of those payments, such as the nature of services provided by each individual and the amount of money changing hands, are shrouded in mystery.

The role of nonprofit “dark money” groups that do not disclose their donors in organizing the demonstrations on Jan. 6 only adds to the opacity. 

Politically active nonprofits are only required to report limited information about their financial dealings in tax filings more than a year after activities take place — and may be able to keep their funders secret forever. The lack of transparency required of such groups means many details of who they pay and who bankrolls their activities can remain hidden. 

The rise of shell companies and politically active nonprofits channeling money from untraceable sources has made political spending harder to trace than ever. 

Under the most normal circumstances, disclosure loopholes can be exploited to hide anything from illegal campaign coordination to politicians lining their own pockets. 

Lacking enough commissioners to engage in most meaningful actions until December, the sole federal agency tasked with enforcing campaign finance law was largely powerless throughout the 2020 election cycle. With its quorum restored, the FEC can again vote on enforcement matters addressing a backlog of complaints alleging campaign finance violations.

 The possibility that a failed presidential candidate’s campaign may have continued bankrolling operatives behind a rally that escalated to violent insurrection raises the question of how this could have been hidden from the American public — and raises the stakes for campaign finance transparency to a new level.

21 thoughts on “Follow The Money …

  1. Unfortunately, I echo what previous commenters have said: great post, but it won’t make a difference, since the Republican senators will not vote to convict. And that will be yet another sad day cor our country.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We always knew he was a crook, it’s just the scale of it which is so mind boggling. It comes as no great surprise that the FEC wasn’t quorate during the election: that can’t be a coincidence!

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  3. A great post!!!! Outstanding!!!! Nothing matters, though! The Republicans will NOT convict Trump!!!! The majority of them are Sociopaths! They don’t have a conscience. The presentations over the last few days are falling on deaf ears! No compassion! No sense of remorse!!!! It’s terrifying! 🥺

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    • No, the unconscionable republicans will not convict him, and in fact are colluding with his defense team to acquit him. But … and this is important … We the People know, and we will not forget. We will remember in 2022 when some of these ignoble senators come up for re-election, and we will damn sure remember in 2024 when the republicans put some eejit up against Biden or Harris. We will remember until the GOP goes down in flames!

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  4. Jill, this is well done and not a surprise. The former president will likely not get convicted, but he is guilty as sin. I just asked my wife, would their be greater furor in the former Republican party if they actually killed Mike Pence, one of the targets of the former president’s rage? Keith

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    • Thanks, Keith! No, it isn’t a surprise at all, but I like seeing it made public. I’m sure the trial will conclude as we’ve expected all along, but the people know the truth. To answer the question you asked your wife, I think that the majority in this nation would have recoiled in horror if the terrorists had gotten to Mike Pence and killed him, but that 58% of the Republicans in the country would have applauded, calling Pence a traitor for not supporting Trump’s unlawful and heinous demand that he overturn the voice of the people.

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      • Jill, whether you like Nikki Haley or not, what she said about what this former president did to Mike Pence is dead on accurate. This vindictive and dishonorable acting former president, put a target on the puppy-dog-like loyal Pence and told his followers, that man is to blame. That truly is criminal and sociopathic behavior. It is that simple. Let me revise Trump’s campaign boast – he could shoot someone of 5th Avenue and blame someone else while holding the gun, and get away with it. Keith

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        • While I once had tremendous respect for Nikki Haley, it waned as she became one of Trump’s bootlickers. However, I agree with you that I’ll take whatever bit of conscience she can sum up, or perhaps she’s actually seen and been horrified by the ‘man’ she once supported blindly. I’m glad she finally saw the cruel, evil person that Trump is. You’re right … he could be caught holding the smoking gun and someone else would pay while he went golfing. Sigh.

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