Donald Trump forced to pay back $ 64 million to supporters during the 2020 presidential campaign ‘scam’
President Donald Trump has been forced to repay $ 122 million to donors who were tricked into making recurring payments for his 2020 reelection campaign.
A New York Times Investigations found that Trump’s fundraising campaign used deceptive fundraising tactics, causing thousands of his supporters to unknowingly sign up to make repeat contributions, while only intending to make a one-time payment.
The “ scam, ” involving pre-checked boxes in fundraising emails, often buried under fine print lines, led to thousands of complaints from banks and credit card companies.
The victims included senior citizens and military veterans, as well as some experienced political agents, and many are left with overdrafts and broken credit card limits.
Donald Trump drew a tidal wave of donors during his 2020 election campaign, but many unwittingly signed up to make recurring payments
Thousands of people among Trump’s dedicated fan base got out of pocket and fought banks or credit card companies for refunds
Pre-ticked boxes, like the one above, appeared in Trump campaign emails in March 2020. In June, the emails included a second pre-ticked box – known as a ‘money bomb’ – that tricked thousands of donors into making recurring payments. When the campaign found it was raised $ 150 million by Biden’s team in one month, it started adding lines in bold, capital letters
Stacy Blatt, 63, was fighting cancer in a Kansas City hospice when he donated $ 500 to Trump’s campaign in September. He would eventually be charged $ 3,000
One victim, Stacy Blatt, was fighting cancer and living in a Kansas City hospice when he donated $ 500 last September. New York Times reported.
Blatt was charged another $ 500 the next day, and then $ 500 every week until October, and it wasn’t until after his rent and utility bills were paid back that his family found out what had happened.
“It felt like it was a scam,” his brother Russell, who helped Stacy figure out what had happened, told the Times.
Blatt died in February.
The dubious pre-checked emails from the Trump campaigns first appeared in March 2020.
A bright yellow box appeared in emails saying, “Make this a monthly, recurring donation.”
Anyone making a donation should opt out to avoid being charged repeatedly.
Three months later, in June, a second pre-ticked box was added to Trump’s fundraising emails.
Known as a ‘money bomb’, the second box had a much greater degree of success in luring unsuspecting backers into signing up, as most believed that unchecking one box would avoid additional costs.
Then in September, after learning that he had been raised with $ 150 million in one month by his opponent, Democratic candidate Joseph Biden, the Trump campaign became more aggressive, The Times reported.
The periodic donation would now be amortized weekly instead of monthly.
And the campaign later added large blocks of bold, capitalized text to the boxes to make them more difficult to decipher.
Shortly after election day, banks and credit card companies were inundated with complaints.
“It was getting all wild,” a Wells Fargo fraud investigator told the New York Times.
In total, Trump has had to repay $ 122 million in donations to five organizations: Donald J. Trump for President, Trump Victory, Trump Make America Great Again Committee, Save America, and the Republican National Committee.
Another reason Trump had to repay such large sums was because many of his individual donors exceeded the legal limit of $ 2,800.
A Trump spokesman said less than 1 percent of donations for his campaign were the subject of complaints
A Trump supporter said the recurring payments ‘felt like it was a scam’
This dwarfed the $ 21 million paid back to backers by the Biden campaign.
All donations were made through the Republican-linked profitable company WinRed, which charges 30 cents of each donation, plus 3.8 percent of the amount given.
Ira Rheingold, the executive director of the National Association of Consumer Advocates, told the New York Times the plan was “unfair,” “unethical,” and “inappropriate.”
A Trump spokesman, Jason Miller, pointed to internal campaign data showing that less than 1 percent of total donations to WinRed were the subject of complaints.
“Our campaign was set up by the hardworking men and women of America and nurturing their investments has been at the forefront of everything else we did,” Miller told The Times.