Campaign finance experts tear into Trump's 'complete ripoff' of donors: 'It started to look like fraud'

On Tuesday, Business Insider profiled a number of campaign finance experts weighing in on the scandal surrounding former President Donald Trump's "pre-checked" option bilking supporters of far more money than they ever intended to donate.

"I've never seen anyone do what the Trump campaign just did," said Democracy21 president Fred Wertheimer said. "This is a complete ripoff, they knew exactly what they were doing. They knew they were tricking people into signing up for what they thought was one contribution, when they were really signing up for multiple contributions. Then when they got caught, they sent the money back. It's like if a bank robber got caught and said, 'Oh, well, I gave the money back.'" He suggested that the arrangement amounted to elder abuse, given the number of retirees who fell for the scheme after not reading the fine print closely.

"Groups do this all the time in a non-toxic way, and of course Trump, being Trump, did this 72 million times in the wrong direction, and it started to look like fraud," agreed Common Cause' National Director of Money and Politics Beth Rotman.

The report added that experts were less clear on whether any crime was committed, as the law allows these setups because Trump technically disclosed what he was doing — he just tried to divert the eye from the details on his website. The former president denies any wrongdoing.

"Elderly donors who gave a few hundred dollars to former President Donald Donald Trump's reelection campaign were shocked to see thousands drained from their accounts," noted the report. "Refund requests spiked in the final months of the campaign. The ensuing surges in credit card fraud claims associated with Trump even got on the radar of the US' biggest banks."

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