Committee says Trump campaign knew claims of election fraud were false but used them to raise money in any way
The House committee investigating the January 6 attack claimed on Monday that Donald Trump’s presidential campaign raised $250 million from supporters by telling them the money would be used to fight voter fraud, but the campaign knew the claims of fraud were false and instead diverted the money to his own political organization, as per The Independent.
Between election day and January 6, Mr. Trump’s campaign sent millions of fundraising emails to supporters inviting them to donate to help fight voter fraud, according to the committee. Many of the emails invited supporters to donate to an “election defense fund” that would be used to defend the election in court.
However, a committee investigator stated that the fund did not exist and that the majority of the funds went to Mr. Trump’s ‘Save America’ political action committee rather than election-related litigation, according to the Independent.
“The evidence highlights how the Trump campaign pushed false election claims to fundraise, telling supporters it would be used to fight voter fraud that did not exist,” said Amanda Wick, senior investigative counsel for the House committee.
“The Trump campaign knew these claims of voter fraud were false yet they continued to barrage small-dollar donors with emails encouraging them to donate to something called the ‘Official Election Defense fund.’ The select committee discovered no such fund existed,” she added.
House committee member Zoe Lofgren, a Democratic congresswoman from California, said President Trump “used the lies he told to raise millions of dollars from the American people.”
Congresswoman Lofgren added that the committee’s investigation found evidence that “the Trump campaign and its surrogates misled donors as to where their funds would go and what they would be used for. So not only was there the Big Lie, there was the Big Rip Off.”
The committee played video testimony from a former Trump campaign digital director, Gary Coby, who agreed that the use of the phrase “election defense fund” was a “marketing tactic.”
The assertions that the election was rigged were so successful, according to Ms. Vick, that President Trump and his allies raised $250 million, roughly $100 million of which came in the first week after the election.
According to Ms. Vick, the majority of that money went to Mr. Trump’s Save America PAC, which was created on November 9, rather than election-related lawsuits.
She went on to say that Mr. Trump’s PAC then gave millions of dollars to political allies, including $1 million to a charitable foundation run by his chief of staff, Mark Meadows, and $5 million to the business that organized President Trump’s event in front of the White House on January 6.
“The fundraising emails continued through January 6, even as President Trump spoke on the Ellipse,” she said.
“Thirty minutes after the last email was fundraising sent, the Capitol was breached.”