WASHINGTON ― Former President Donald Trump, who raised some $76 million after last November’s election under false pretenses, will be able to keep how he is spending that money secret until mid-July, thanks to Federal Election Commission rules.
Trump claimed in dozens of texts and emails to his small-dollar donor list that money he was collecting for his “Save America” committee would be used to challenge the results in states he had lost to Democrat Joe Biden and also to help the Republican candidates in two Georgia Senate runoffs.
In fact, he spent none of that money for those purposes and instead kept it for his committee, which can spend it on almost anything he wants, including paying his personal expenses or even giving him an eight-figure salary.
FEC rules allow “non-candidate committees” to file as infrequently as every six months, and with the quarter deadline passing Thursday, it appears both Trump’s committee and the related Trump Make America Great Again Committee have chosen to file semiannually rather than quarterly, as they had been doing.
Trump raised “several million” for his PAC in the days after telling his supporters at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando in late February that they should not donate to GOP committees, but instead give their money to Save America, according to an associate who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Among the information that will remain under wraps until July 15 is how much Trump is paying his PAC’s employees, including top aide Jason Miller, who is in a long-running child support battle with the mother of their son, Miller’s former subordinate on the 2016 Trump campaign.
On the 2020 campaign, Miller was “chief strategist,” but his name never showed up in the campaign’s FEC filings. Instead, his $35,000-a-month salary was funneled through Jamestown Associates, a former company of his, potentially making it more difficult for the Florida family court to determine how much he was earning.
The former president was impeached a record second time for inciting a violent mob to attack the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 in his last-ditch attempt to hold on to power.
Trump spent weeks attacking the legitimacy of the Nov. 3 election after he had lost, lying that it had been “stolen” from him and that he had actually won in a “landslide.” Those falsehoods continued through a long string of failed lawsuits challenging the results in a handful of states. After the Electoral College finally voted on Dec. 14, making Biden’s win official, Trump began urging his followers to come to Washington on Jan. 6 to intimidate his own vice president and Congress into overturning the election results and installing Trump as president for another term anyway. The mob he incited attempted to do just that as it stormed the Capitol. His supporters even chanted “Hang Mike Pence” after Pence refused to comply with Trump’s demands.
A police officer died the day of that insurrection, and two others took their own lives soon afterward.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly referenced a letter mistakenly cited by the Federal Election Commission.