An enormous bankroll of shadowy money is already flowing to support President Donald Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign.
Multiple investigative reports in recent days have detailed how Trump’s Super PAC and other supposedly independent pro-Trump groups are already taking in donations and spending money to promote Trump’s political empire. Trump’s campaign is also actively, separately from the independent groups, even though the election is more than three years away.
No other president in recent history has put so much time and effort into his re-election campaign at this early stage in his presidency. Trump must be worried, considering he is historically unpopular.
A pair of super PACs have together already burned through $1 million to boost Trump’s 2020 bid, according to a Center for Public Integrity analysis of federal campaign spending records.
So much spending, so fast, is unprecedented in U.S. election history.
Trump himself is the prime instigator of this outside money onslaught. He filed his re-election paperwork on Jan. 20 — the day of his inauguration — and has since conducted campaign rallies, raised more than $7 million in campaign cash and even aired a campaign TV ad touting his nascent presidency.
With Trump’s candidacy declared, it’s easy for super PACs and certain nonprofit groups empowered by the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission to raise and spend unlimited amounts of money to promote the president’s political prospects.
The Center for Public Integrity and Open Secrets – both non-profit journalism organizations covering government affairs – have reported about the huge flow of money swirling around Trump world right now.
Outside groups mobilizing in support of President Trump have already spent tens of millions on his behalf—and may never have to reveal where they got the money.
Trump’s unprecedented move to register as a candidate for the 2020 presidential election on his first day in office blurs the line between groups spending in support of the president’s agenda and those supporting his re-election. Unlike their forerunner, Organizing for Action, which did not exist as a 501(c)(4) until after President Barack Obama’s re-election in 2012, political nonprofits have been active since the onset of President Trump’s first term as he’s taken on the roles of both candidate and president.
Groups like the 45 Committee that were established during the 2016 election have spent multiple millions of dollars on ad campaigns during Trump’s first 100 days in office. Trump’s supporters also include new names like Great America Alliance and Making America Great, whose operations and funding sources are still largely opaque though they’ve spent plenty backing Trump; they will not have to file reports with the IRS until next year, and even then won’t have to publicly name their donors — just some of the benefits of the 501(c) tax status.