that guy in AZ Wrote:
Trump supporters are loyal - but not very smart.
The New York Times this morning posted an article about how numerous Trump supporters had been duped into making recurring payments to the Trump campaign in the closing months of the election.
"Stacy Blatt was in hospice care last September listening to Rush Limbaugh’s dire warnings about how badly Donald J. Trump’s campaign needed money when he went online and chipped in everything he could: $500.
(Stacy Blatt died of cancer in February).
It was a big sum for a 63-year-old battling cancer and living in Kansas City on less than $1,000 per month. But that single contribution — federal records show it was his first ever — quickly multiplied. Another $500 was withdrawn the next day, then $500 the next week and every week through mid-October, without his knowledge — until Mr. Blatt’s bank account had been depleted and frozen. When his utility and rent payments bounced, he called his brother, Russell, for help.
What the Blatts soon discovered was $3,000 in withdrawals by the Trump campaign in less than 30 days. They called their bank and said they thought they were victims of fraud.
“It felt,” Russell said, “like it was a scam.”
The sheer magnitude of the money involved is staggering for politics. In the final two and a half months of 2020, the Trump campaign, the Republican National Committee and their shared accounts issued more than 530,000 refunds worth $64.3 million to online donors.
The recurring donations swelled Mr. Trump’s treasury in September and October, just as his finances were deteriorating. He was then able to use tens of millions of dollars he raised after the election, under the guise of fighting his unfounded fraud claims, to help cover the refunds he owed.
Mr. Trump’s hyperaggressive fund-raising practices did not stop once he lost the election. His campaign continued the weekly withdrawals through prechecked boxes all the way through Dec. 14 as he raised tens of millions of dollars for his new political action committee, Save America.
In March, Mr. Trump urged his followers to send their money to him — and not to the traditional party apparatus — making plain that he intends to remain the gravitational center of Republican fund-raising online.
But what the Blatts believed was duplicity was actually an intentional scheme to boost revenues by the Trump campaign and the for-profit company that processed its online donations, WinRed. Facing a cash crunch and getting badly outspent by the Democrats, the campaign had begun last September to set up recurring donations by default for online donors, for every week until the election.
Unlike ActBlue, which is a nonprofit, WinRed is a for-profit company. It makes its money by taking 30 cents of every donation, plus 3.8 percent of the amount given. WinRed was paid more than $118 million from federal committees the last election cycle; even after paying credit card fees and expenses like payroll and rent, the profits are believed to be significant.
There is another reason Mr. Trump’s refund rates were so high: His campaign accepted millions of dollars above the legal cap, a problem exacerbated by recurring donations. A pianist in New York, for instance, contributed more than 100 times in the months leading up to Election Day, going far past the legal limit of $2,800. She was refunded $87,716.50 — three weeks after Election Day.
But for some Trump supporters like Ron Wilson, WinRed is a scam artist. Mr. Wilson, an 87-year-old retiree in Illinois, made a series of small contributions last fall that he thought would add up to about $200; by December, federal records show, WinRed and Mr. Trump’s committees had withdrawn more than 70 separate donations from Mr. Wilson worth roughly $2,300.
“Predatory!” Mr. Wilson said of WinRed. Like multiple other donors interviewed, though, he held Mr. Trump himself blameless, telling The Times, “I’m 100 percent loyal to Donald Trump.”
And after Mr. Trump’s first public speech of his post-presidency at the end of February, his new political operation sent its first text message to supporters since he left the White House. “Did you miss me?” he asked.
The message directed supporters to a WinRed donation page with two prechecked yellow boxes. Mr. Trump raised $3 million that day, according to an adviser, with more to come from the recurring donations in the months ahead.
On Saturday the New York Times revealed that Donald Trump’s 2020 presidential campaign issued a staggering amount in refunds to donors. The campaign refunded nearly 11% of refunds totaling more than $122.7 million. The Times findings were based on Federal Election Commission filings.
Trump has been a con man his entire business career, so it is not surprising that he would scam even his most loyal supporters in the final days of this term if office.