Post-election defense funds have been launched by both Donald Trump’s and Joe Biden’s campaigns to pay for mounting legal challenges expected in the battleground states of Arizona, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Michigan.
The Trump campaign is contesting the election results, which project Joe Biden as the winner of the presidential race.
Trump campaign officials have been sending out flurries of text messages and emails urging supporters to contribute to the president’s court challenges in five battleground states.
Biden is now doing the same.
But a closer look at the fine print reveals that a portion of the money is going somewhere unexpected.
On the Trump campaign’s official WinRed website, it says: “The Democrats want to steal the election, and we’re asking for help to ensure that we have the resources to keep fighting.”
A review of the fine print on WinRed, however, reveals a disclaimer that states that 50% of any donation will go toward the campaign’s general election debt retirement and the other half toward the campaign recount account.
A separate fundraising effort also advertised on the website by the “Trump Make America Great Again Committee” states that 60% of the contributions will go toward campaign debt, while 40% goes to the Republican National Committee.
Joe Biden’s campaign also launched a fundraising effort called the Biden Fight Fund in anticipation of the drawn-out legal battle.
A review of the fine print on the ActBlue website does not include a disclaimer about campaign debt but does say a portion of a donation would go toward the Democratic National Committee and the remainder would benefit the former vice president’s recount account.
The fine print also says: “Contributions will be used in connection with federal elections, may be spent on any activity as each committee determines in its sole discretion.”
History has proven that donations can be manipulated. Trump’s former White House strategist Steve Bannon was recently charged with defrauding donors through the $25 million crowdfunding “We Build the Wall" campaign, an effort to fulfill the president’s promise to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Bannon pleaded not guilty in federal court in August and could face up to 20 years in federal prison if convicted.