President Donald Trump smashed records this month with a reported $107 million dollar worth of donations to the “58th Presidential Inaugural Committee”—doubling the amount received in 2009 by former President Barack Obama. But a deep dive into Trump’s Federal Election Committee filing, spearheaded by the Huffington Post’s Christina Wilkie, presents evidence that a large number of donors used “phony records” or are “front groups.”
Wow: Scores of donors to Trump’s inauguration are phony records or front groups. Help us dig, spreadsheet is open! https://t.co/e7IVvIx8gB# p #2_17 # ad skipped = true #
— Christina Wilkie (@christinawilkie) April 21, 2017# p #3_17 # ad skipped = true #
In one case, Marion Forcht of Corbin, KY donated $50,000 to the president’s inaugural committee. His wife Terry also donated $50,000. Forcht owns Forcht Insurance Agency, with an estimated annual revenue of $134,500. In another, “GLM Development” donated $100,000 to the president—with an estimated revenue of $146,000. In yet another, Isabel T. John of Englewood, NJ donated $400,000. The problem? There’s no record she exists.
# p #6_17 # ad skipped = true #
— Christina Wilkie (@christinawilkie) April 20, 2017# p #7_17 # ad skipped = true #
As the Intercept reports, Trump’s inaugural committee claimed it received $25,000 from NASA mathematician and physicist Katherine Johnson—a claim her power of attorney denies.
The Intercept also notes the filings reveal a $1 million donation from American Action Network, which NBC describes as a “dark money power player”—an organization used to funnel money to campaigns while masking the identity of the donor. It also lists a $300,000 donation from Bennett LeBow, a businessman who partnered with Trump on a failed Moscow real estate venture.
Wilkie, with the help of a Twitter call to action, transferred the inaugural committee’s FEC filing to an open-source spreadsheet. Volunteers are working to verify the identities of Trump’s donors, and leaving comments on the document.
Research-minded folks, is there any easy way to copy and paste the data directly from the FEC filing of Trump’s inaugural donors?# p #12_17 # ad skipped = true #
— Christina Wilkie (@christinawilkie) April 20, 2017# p #13_17 # ad skipped = true #
I made a public sheet so all you awesome volunteer researchers can keep track of what you find. Just add a comment: https://t.co/Dna3e25KEN# p #15_17 # ad skipped = true #
— Christina Wilkie (@christinawilkie) April 20, 2017# p #16_17 # ad skipped = true #