The House Select Committee investigating former President Donald Trump’s role in fomenting the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol has shone a spotlight on his efforts to fundraise off the back of his erroneous election fraud claims.
After a hearing earlier this week, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a Democrat of California and a member of the committee, said of Trump’s $250 million “Official Election Defense Fund,” “The big lie was also a big ripoff. He intentionally misled his donors, asked them to donate to a fund that didn’t exist and used the money raised for something other than what it said.”
On Tuesday, New York Attorney General Letitia James, already in the midst of a yearslong probe into alleged fraud and tax evasion at the Trump Organization, tweeted, “The new details revealed tonight related to January 6 are disturbing. It’s my duty to investigate allegations of fraud or potential misconduct in New York. This incident is no exception.”
Trump campaigned throughout his presidency and sought donations from supporters at every opportunity both in person and online. For years, Gizmodo has been collecting emails his campaign has blasted out begging for cash. What we’ve found is that the ex-president has a penchant for the kinds of sales tactics more commonly associated with subprime mortgage loans, odometer-rolling used car salesmen, and shady internet businesses that rely on duping unsophisticated customers.
Unconvinced? Let’s take a closer look at how the Trump campaign managed to amass a warchest worth a quarter of a billion dollars.