Wednesday, 22 June 2016 13:07

Trump U, Campaign Funding Schemes and Art of the Self-Dealing pufferies

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“Let Trump be Trump”.

That was the campaign cry of one--Corey Lewandowski.  Trump’s family members prevailed forcing the once- combative campaign manager to be nicely police-escorted out of the Trump towers after getting axed.  The also once-loyal master, in the latest installment of Trump Campaign Apprentice TV show had finally spoken and Corey quickly became a rerun.

Now, we are told we can expect the “kinder and gentler” Republican candidate for US President, the new and improved Trump.

Great.  We’ve all longed for a transformation, but, won’t Trump still be Trump?  He’s the man we’ve all learned to love and admire.  He’s the one whom we all expect to transform America from the loins of his own greatness?

From all indications, he will still be Trump, just maybe a more subdued tele-prompted Trump, yet, still The Donald, Trump.

In fact, we probably will still be watching on the tube the Trump version-- that Marco Rubio warned us about—the scam artist, the fraud and the con-man, Trump.

That Trump.

you recall.  At the time, when making those claims, Rubio, exposed the Trump University lawsuit to the millions of American ignorant. 

As we now know, Trump U, (which was not a university at all), claimed in its promotions, that the real estate maestro would handpick the instructors and teach those naive suckers, the secrets that has made him so rich.

The truth is,  through the Trump U. legal proceedings, his own attorneys have told us just what we need to know about Trump and his dealings.

Listen closely--“Trump's lawyers say claims that students would be told Trump's "secrets" or that he was personally involved in selecting teachers were, at worst, marketing "puffery" not intended to be taken literally.”

My, how foolish of those paying their life’s savings to take a Trump institution,  “literally”.  

So, in Trump world, what one says in business, and now, as it might also say in politics, one isn’t “lyin”, just “puffin”. 

But, unfortunately, as we are all discovering so well, the Trump scheming doesn’t just end where Trump U began.  We are all getting puffed by Trump.  The reality is, we better learn it--before it is way too late. 

His latest fundraising (or lack of it) controversy is the latest Exhibit “A”.

For almost a year, he and his many followers told us repeatedly that the candidate would self-fund his own campaign.  Of course, he also told us he would pay the vets, and did so months after he was outed by the media for not making payment.

Turns out, he really did not self-fund his entire campaign.  Actually, he hardly self-fund any of it, it appears.  However, he did lend it a lot of money and he did receive contributions from others, in contravention to his self-proclaimed pledge.  During the primary and now during the general, he loaned his campaign money and received millions in contributions.   Also, while he paraded on the banner of a self-funded billionaire who could not be bought, he conveniently forgot to tell us that he will be bought by general elections campaign dollars.  He blasted all the other candidates for being beholden to contributors, donors and lobbyists.  Now that he is the presumptive republican candidate, he is sucking at the same high-roller teats, in fact, from some of the same folks whom he blasted as “corrupting” the system.  Of course, back then, they were backing Trump's competition.  He made those claims when his republican opponents were the ones with their hands out at the campaign ATM’s.  Not him.  He told us he would be above the fray.  Well, now that he is a candidate in the general election, he must want us to ignore the fact that he will be beholden to those  same mega contributors, donors and lobbyists—should he reside in the new Trump Oval Office.  And, you know darn well, they will come to him with their hat in hand, looking for their return on their own campaign investments.

He also told us he was “very very rich”, therefore wouldn’t need our money.   Well, in Trump World, I guess the "not-needing our money" wasn’t a lie.  No. in the land of Trump, it was a "puff". 

Which explains why just this Saturday, the billionaire sent out a campaign bulletin begging for some campaign cash—specifically, a neat bundle of $100,000, made payable before the stroke of midnight. 

The very sight of Candidate Money Bags attired in his red silk power-tie, made in China, standing on the digital street corner with can in hand and carrying a sign saying-- “will be President for your food” imagery would simply too much for many of us, to bear.


You mean--the billion-dollar-business-behemoth, the guy who has told us that he has a “great brain” and had the deepest of pockets, suddenly was barking for our shekels--so he could buy some TV ads? 


Holy puff!!  You're kidding!

It was just like those "come-on’s" we see on late-night TV, “but, wait, there’s more”:  Turns out, he and his family are raking in the campaign contributions and funneling them to their own companies, and of course, to themselves.

One needs not a degree from Trump U, to understand this—the master is lending moolah to his campaign, when necessary.  He’s also sucking up money from Mr. and Mrs. Average Joe to pay for the campaign expenses, a good portion of those expenses being owed to the Trump family business, itself.  He’s renting out his own house in South Florida for campaign events.  In a circuitous way, it is obvious, he’s repaying his “great company” he has built for the wine, the food, the meeting hall it provided for campaign events.  He's doing this by lending his campaign some money and by sending the contributor's cash to pay his own companies for the very products and services it had previously rendered to his own campaign.  The Trump secret to successful campaign funding is not self-funding, but “self-taking”.

The New York Times, on Monday, cited what I call, his new Trump Scam U.

In 2015, he paid out about $2.7 billion to Trump companies or to people who work for him for campaign expenses.

In May of 2016, he paid over 400 thousand to Mar-a-Lago resort, more than $350 thousand to TAG air for his private flights, $150 to Trump restaurants and the list goes on.  

According to Marketwatch, 20 percent of campaign expense dollars go back to Trump

Then, this week, it’s a new scheme.

Since he is short on campaign dough, his most recent fundraising device seeks our contributions to his campaign war chest, but—in return, he will match, dollar for dollar.

According to Team Trump, it goes like this:

“by personally matching every dollar that comes in WITHIN THE NEXT 48 HOURS, up to $2 million!”

But, exactly, how is he going to match each dollar?

Based upon what has been revealed in the Wall Street Journal, the plan appears pretty obvious.  According to the Journal, “Mr. Trump loaned his campaign $45.7 million through May, but his loans have dwindled in recent months as he has looked to more actively solicit funds. He loaned himself $7.5 million in April, down from $11.5 million in March.  A Wall Street Journal analysis found that the New York businessman would not have the ready cash to self-finance an entire general-election campaign.

So, what does it tell us about Trump’s money match and its paying its campaign expenses? 

Well, for one, he doesn’t tell us how he will match the incoming funds.  In other words, are the dollars he is putting up for the match-- coming out of his own pockets as a contribution or as another Trump loan?

We don't know.  

If it’s another loan, as I bet my own bottom dollar, it will be, he will want to be repaid.  Surely, this is not self-funding, as he has called it, but it is temporarily passing of outside donations and money lent to his own campaign to pay for those campaign expenses, a good portion off it rendered by his own company, certainly, wanting to be repaid.  What a great way to get a better return on the dollar!

So ask yourself--when Mr. and Mrs. Average Joe’s hard-earned cash contributions flow into the campaign, will one-fifth of it go to his own companies for campaign expenses? When he repays himself, will he then repay the Average Joe’s first--before repaying himself?

Not on your life.

The way it works is--the Mr. Joe families will permanently part with their own money.  One-fifth of it (or so) will go into the “Makes Donald Trump Richer, Again” fund.  Meanwhile, it is anticipated that Trump will recoup all of the money he lent to the Trump campaign, dollar for dollar, which actually comes from the Joe’s  subject, of course to the twenty-percent going to Trump Companies for those campaign expenses.

Some might say, well, Trump still pays roughly 80 percent of other’s people money for other campaign expenses.


And, in doing so, Trump continues to hawk his Trump golf course, Trump family books, steaks, wine, hotels and everything else Trump.  He has a captured audience at his campaign whistle stops and appearances.  He has even made an art of it in dealing with the despised crooked, corrupt and dishonest free media he solicits, so lavishly, which then allows him to promote even more of his many assets, as he runs for President. 

All of this raises the question of ultimate questions—what happens should Donald Trump become President of the United States or, perhaps President of the United States of Trump?

Will the first press conference be sponsored by Trump media?  When he travels to the Muslim states that despise gays and demean women--such as Indonesia, Turkey, Qatar, Dubai, the United Arab Emirates and Azerbaijan--to promote his ban on Islam--will everyone travel via Trump air?  Will they stay at the majestic Muslim nation Trump resorts?  Will the US government pick up the tab?  Will the State dinner guests dine on Trump Steaks and sip Trump wine?

Just wait.  With his newly-found success in the business of electioneering, will those wanting to learn from the master now be willing to fork over their life's savings too for a little political education?  The course? “How to self-funded a campaign, using other people’s money, and yep, make a profit!!”.  And, obviously, it will be taught by his hand-picked instructors at the New Presidential Trump U of Politics and Elections.

Let’s be clear.  There is nothing wrong with running a campaign like a business.  Nor is there anything improper with running a country like a business, either.  Nor, is there really anything untoward, by running a business out of one’s campaign, either.

But, there are limits of credulity indeed, especially when the multi-billion-dollar businessman is supposed to be self-funding, yet, is self-profiting while everybody else believing him, pays the freight.  And, there are limits to respectability when the nation sees patterns of self-dealings, yet are told, he pays as little in taxes as possible.  And, there’s limits to our trust when he claims to be audited annually (while his super-rich pals aren’t,) yet, the rest of us pay our annual obligations (and his) to Uncle Sam because we can't afford high-priced lawyers and lobbyists.  Indeed, there are limits to his honor when, when asked about his tax rate, he tells us--“it’s none of your business”.


Donald Trump, the reality TV star, multi-billionaire, once-pretending self-funding, now desperate campaign-fundraiser, who wants to occupy our White House-- is, indeed, our business.

So are his campaign pledges that are no more legitimate than his Trump U pufferies--the term his own lawyers used to explain that we should not take the Trumps literally.

We are learning that his get-rich-quick schemes on his "use of other’s people’s money" look just like the very scams Rubio warned us all. 

We are learning his ruses are as often as his loud-mouthed off-the-wall "let Trump be Trump" statements that is sinking the GOP.

We are learning that his business and political schemes are consistent, predictable and obvious.  

You can find them all at “Trump Will Screw U, too”.

Last modified on Wednesday, 22 June 2016 18:00
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