Elderly supporters of President Donald Trump are lamenting that they've been "fooled" by a former fundraising staffer that worked on the president's 2016 campaign.
According to an analysis by Axios and the Campaign Legal Center (CLC), “nearly all” of the money raised into a group called The Presidential Coalition is going back into fundraising more money and into administrative costs. It isn't helping the president, and the money isn't doing much to help elect other conservative Republicans.
Axios reached out to 12 supporters about where their money actually went. Unsurprisingly, they were angry and upset.
"I thought the money was going toward the president," said retired widow Barbara Bloom, who is in her 70s. "You know, I'd get repeated duplicates for things. [Their mailers] would most of the time say the first $15 was for your membership, but how many times do you pay membership? … It's ridiculous; it's insulting. I'm just really disenchanted with it all."
Mrs. Bloom wasn't alone. Minnesota resident Wallace Payne admitted he's an easy target for scams like this.
"I gave them money after seeing their mailers, and because I think Trump deserves it. … I'm old and easily fooled I guess. … It's disappointing, very disappointing," the 86-year-old Republican admitted.
But small-dollar donors weren't the only ones fooled. Mega-donor George Kunkel spent $101,000 on Trump in 2017 and 2018. In an interview with Axios, he said he thought "the money goes toward supporting the president." He maintained that some of it did benefit the president because "I saw the ads."
Axios showed him the breakdown of the disbursements, revealing he too was fooled by the so-called "Presidential Coalition."