In a deep dive looking at the explosive growth of conservative youth group Turning Point USA and figurehead Charlie Kirk, the Guardian reveals that GOP insiders wonder about its long-term viability after attaching itself so closely to Donald Trump.
According to the Guardian's Peter Stone, the group founded in 2012 by the 18-year-old Kirk has seen its revenues jump from $4.3 million in 2016 to almost $39.8 million in 2020 and that has some people concerned about the path they are taking.
As Stone explained, "The emerging strength and roles of TPUSA in the conservative ecosystem- and the rising visibility of its ambitious and hard driving Charlie Kirk – has sparked withering criticism from medical experts and ethics watchdogs, as well as some Republican party operatives."
The report notes that ties between the group and Trump world have grown with Stone reporting, "TPUSA owes a big debt to several fundraising events and meetings with Trump connections, say some Republican consultants. TPUSA held a lavish fundraising gala at Mar-a-Lago in December 2019 that drew Donald Trump Jr and Republican political bigwigs, and Kirk's cachet was palpable at the 2020 Republican convention, where he gushed that Trump was 'the bodyguard of western civilization.'"
According to one GOP insider, "Kirk and TPUSA owe their success largely to Don Jr and Kimberly Guilfoyle. I would often see Kirk and Don Jr hanging out at the Trump hotel restaurant."
That, in turn, has raised concerns about the group's non-profit status as it appears to be a wing of Donald Trump's drive to be re-elected president.
According to one GOP fundraising consultant, "Some GOP donors worry that Kirk's ostensible goals have been corrupted by spending so much time in and around Trump world. Further, people are concerned about the impact of Kirk's prominent support for Trump on his group's tax status."
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