Trump’s Four Seasons Total Landscaping bill: On the house
It is possible that Philadelphia’s most famous landscaping company was compensated by one of the campaign’s “event staging” providers, but that is how the Trump campaign usually does not seem to report event fees. It’s also possible the company hasn’t been compensated for the use of its facility, but it wasn’t on the campaign’s list of outstanding debt, according to its filing on Thursday night.
Suffrage experts say outside groups are not allowed to pay for expenses like a campaign press conference.
“If Giuliani showed that he was doing this on behalf of the Trump campaign, the costs involved would be seen as campaign costs,” said Ciara Torres-Spelliscy, professor of suffrage at Stetson University. “Because it’s part of the election and the election litigation.”
Four Seasons Total Landscaping may not have charged five-star facility fees, but the business has thrived after its viral moment nonetheless. More than a million dollars in Make America Rake Again and Lawn and Order merchandise reportedly fell off the shelves. The company even created a line of ugly Christmas sweaters.
The president’s campaign spent $ 208 million on October 15 through November 23. This was a hot pace that made it look for cash after the post-election FEC. According to FOX News, the campaign and RNC raised $ 207.5 million after Election Day through an aggressive fundraising drive by the Official Election Defense Fund to solicit donations on behalf of the election campaign.
However, the fine print in fundraising appeals shows that much of the money raised is actually being earmarked for initial campaign debt repayment. According to the New York Times, donors must donate at least $ 5,000 before a single cent is used for the recount and legal effort. Instead, the campaign, a new pro-Trump PAC and the Republican National Committee benefit.
“Trump’s appeals for donations were incredibly misleading,” said Fischer, who documented the campaign’s debt settlement on Twitter. “The average donor who donated Trump’s so-called ‘Electoral Defense Fund’ did not fund his legal fees at all after the election. Small donors who believed Trump would help stop the theft actually helped pay Trump’s campaign debts and fund his post-White House political operation. “
The new PAC, Save America, is classified as an executive PAC, which has fewer restrictions on spending donations under federal law than Trump’s other campaign accounts. While conversion of donated funds into personal use from the primary campaign account is prohibited, it is generally permitted by the PAC of Leadership.
“It seems like a dishonest thing to take money that donors believe will be used for legal defense and then put that money in campaign coffers for future elections,” added Torres-Spelliscy.
But going into debt in the last few days of a campaign is not uncommon, she said. Both the Biden and Trump campaigns spent hundreds of millions of dollars in the final days of the 2020 campaign. The Biden campaign only reported $ 1.6 million in cash in its post-election report.
“After losing Hillary Clinton in 2008, she had an enormous amount of campaign debt. It took her years to retire because … you have to adhere to the same tough money limits (as in the general election) and do so in those little bits. “
In 2020, a single campaign donor can only give $ 2,800 to the general election. As a result, the Trump campaign had to find new donors after the election to help pay off outstanding debt. Torres-Spelliscy added that if candidates fail to repay large debts, candidates will not fall into ethical gray areas, as the value of the debt awarded would exceed federal contribution limits.
Neither the Trump campaign nor Four Seasons Total Landscaping responded to NBCLX’s request for interviews this week, but after the story was released, the official FSTL Twitter account tweeted, “Pro tip: When diversifying business offerings you can suffer losses at startup. “
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