The battle between the Republican Party and former President Donald Trump over money is going about as one would expect. The two parties have traded press releases and attacks as Trump demands that the GOP stop using his name in any and all fundraising. The Republicans replied, saying that they believe in the First Amendment and free speech.
In a New York Times report by Maggie Haberman and Annie Karni, implied that this is all about control of grassroots donors in the party and that Trump wants them to give directly to him.
"No more money for RINOS," Trump said in a press release because he's banned from almost all social media sites.
Trump told his supporters that they shouldn't give any more money to the Republican Party or its House and Senate wings because the funds will go to support officials who voted to convict him during impeachment.
"The aggressive move against his own party is the latest sign that Mr. Trump is trying to wrest control of the low-dollar online fund-raising juggernaut he helped create, diverting it from Republican fund-raising groups toward his own committee, which has virtually no restrictions on how the money can be spent," said the report.
According to the Times, Trump's advisers believe that the future of the party is in low-dollar donors. Many large donors and corporate cash dried up after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and the GOP's attempt to deny the votes of millions of Americans because they didn't like the outcome. So, for Trump, smaller dollar donors are his only real option.
"The former president is also being encouraged by people like Dick Morris, the notorious political consultant, who has been meeting with him in New York and encouraging him to take on the party he once led," said the report.
There were reports that Trump was pondering whether he'd start his own political party, a decision he told right-wing news outlets wasn't true. When he spoke to supporters at CPAC, he dispelled the rumor again, saying that it would be pointless to start a third party because he already owns the Republican Party.
"We're not starting new parties. They kept saying, he's going to start a brand new party. We have the Republican party. It's going to unite and be stronger than ever before. I am not starting a new party. That was fake news, fake news," said Trump.
But it begs the question what the GOP will do once Trump forces out long-time lawmakers and if they can hold onto the seats.
Trump backed down from his attacks Tuesday with a statement saying he "fully support[s] the Republican Party and important GOP Committees, but I do not support RINOs and fools, and it is not their right to use my likeness or image to raise funds." The statement went on to then ask for money for his super PAC.
For now, Trump has exchanged his campaign for Save America PAC, which has less oversight and fewer donation restrictions.
"That sort of PAC has no meaningful restrictions on how it could spend its money," the Times cited Adav Noti, of the Campaign Legal Center.
"If Mr. Trump is successful in persuading donors to give money to him instead of supporting Republican House candidates directly, he could cause problems for Representative Kevin McCarthy, the minority leader, who is trying to take back the House in two years. He needs to flip five seats to do so," said the Times. McCarthy would also have to hold onto every single seat he's got.
"In midterms, you raise a lot of money out of opposition to an administration and policy," said Mitch McConnell adviser Josh Holmes. "In presidential years, it becomes more of a face and name of each of the parties. We're naturally entering a different era of fund-raising."
The current plan to obstruct every bill Democrats propose may not work out, however. The GOP overwhelmingly opposed the COVID-19 stimulus, which enjoyed over 70 percent support among Americans.