Trump campaign forced to refund more than $122M to donors, Internet says 'RIP OFF merchants till the end'

According to a report, in the final two and a half months of 2020, the Trump campaign and the RNC issued more than 530,000 refunds worth roughly $64.3 million to online donors


                            Trump campaign forced to refund more than $122M to donors, Internet says 'RIP OFF merchants till the end'
Donald Trump addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference held in the Hyatt Regency on February 28, 2021 in Orlando, Florida (Getty Images)

Former President Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign reportedly issued a total of $122.7 million in refunds to supporters in 2020.

According to an investigative report published by the New York Times on Saturday, the campaign gave back nearly 11% of the money it raised, based on an analysis of Federal Election Commission filings. 

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U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport on September 25, 2020 in Newport News, Virginia. President Trump is scheduled to announce his nomination to the Supreme Court to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Saturday afternoon at the White House. (Getty Images)

As per the report, with two months to go for the 2020 presidential elections, starting in September, the Trump campaign allegedly set up weekly recurring donations as the default for online donors. Donors reportedly had to manually uncheck a box in order to opt-out. The notice of recurring donations was allegedly included only in a fine-print statement, according to the Times. 

The news outlet also found that as Election Day neared, the Trump campaign added a second pre-checked box that doubled a person’s contribution. This came along with new lines of text in bold and capital letters that the publication said distracted from the information that informed donors on how to opt-out of the automatic donation plan. 

Fraud complaints sent to banks

Soon after the campaign implemented these practices, the publication noted that many Trump supporters, including retirees and military veterans, sent fraud complaints to banks and credit card companies to report unauthorized withdrawals from their accounts. 

President Donald Trump speaks to supporters at Joint Base Andrews before boarding Air Force One for his last time as President on January 20, 2021 in Joint Base Andrews, Maryland. Trump, the first president in more than 150 years to refuse to attend his successor's inauguration, is expected to spend the final minutes of his presidency at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.  (Getty Images)

NYT cites the example of Stacy Blatt, a 63-year-old patient in hospice care, who donated $500 to the Trump campaign in September. However, in less than a month, the Trump campaign had withdrawn a total of $3,000 from Blatt, Times said. In February, he died from cancer. "It felt like it was a scam," his brother Russell reportedly said.

Money raised in the name of 'Stop the Steal'

Even after Election Day, Trump continued to raise money, claiming it was to fight widespread voter fraud in several states. Despite federal and state election officials clarifying that there was no evidence to suggest that widespread voter fraud occurred, Trump continued harping on it and reportedly asked for donations. The Trump campaign allegedly used tens of millions of dollars from his 'Stop the Steal' efforts to help cover the refunds owed to donors, according to the Times. 

According to the Times, in the final two and a half months of 2020, the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee issued more than 530,000 refunds worth roughly $64.3 million to online donors. Which makes it total refund of 10.7 percent of the money raised in 2020 on the Republican Party’s fundraising platform WinRed.  

Trump spokesman Jason Miller denied the claims of fraud as he reportedly had other numbers to quote - just 0.87 percent of the WinRed transactions were included in formal credit card disputes. "The fact we had a dispute rate of less than 1 percent of total donations despite raising more grass-roots money than any campaign in history is remarkable," Miller reportedly said. "Our campaign was built by the hardworking men and women of America, and cherishing their investments was paramount to anything else we did," he added. 

Jason Miller at Politicon at Pasadena Convention Center on July 30, 2017 in Pasadena, California. (Getty Images)

Trump 'scammed' followers

Social media users are furious as many noted that Trump 'scammed' his followers. 

"#DonaldTrump scammed his supporters or should I say suckers? Online donors were guided into weekly recurring contributions. Demands for refunds spiked. Complaints to banks & credit card companies soared. He kept afloat on the fools that believed in him," one tweeted.

Another user commented when responding to Donald Trump Jr, "No one is surprised at the length your family grifts the American people. This story about the 122M in refunds by the Trump campaign because of your sneaky tactics (check box hidden for recurring donation) ripping off your cult!" Another user said, "REFUND!!! - $122,000,000.00! Dayum! - The Shady Pines scams of Donald J. Trump continue. - - - This. Is. Incredible."

"@DonaldJTrumpJr @EricTrump Grifters ripping off the supporters, hoping they would not bother to ask for refunds. No wonder Jr can afford to buy a multi million dollar home in Florida. RIP OFF merchants till the end," another user said.



 

 



 

 



 

 



 

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