Tuesday Reads: Donald Trump is Broke

Trump pinata

Trump pinata

Good Afternoon!!

Last night Twitter was agog over Donald Trump’s May FEC filing. There’s been a lot of talk lately about chaos in Trump’s campaign and speculation about how wealthy he actually is. But the Trump campaign is in even worse condition than anyone suspected. Mother Jones breaks down the stunning news from his campaign finance documents:

The first glance: Hillary Clinton’s campaign has more than 35 times the cash Trump’s does.

Here’s the second glance: Ted Cruz dropped out of the GOP primary on May 3, meaning that for the month of May, Trump was all but assured the nomination and the campaign should have been in prime fundraising mode. But it wasn’t. Even taking into account Trump’s long-stated claims that he had no interest in raising money from others (something he has reversed himself on)—filings the campaign made with the Federal Election Commission late Monday evening show that Trump simply couldn’t get any fundraising momentum going. He raised a grand total of $5.6 million from May 1 to May 31, $2.2 million of which was in the form of loans from Trump personally….

Trump, who spent more than he raised, has $1.2 million in cash on hand. True, Trump has always had very little cash on hand at the end of a reporting period. But this was because he was writing the checks and didn’t need to keep cash on hand. But now that Trump insists he won’t be self-financing, those low numbers are a problem. Even if Trump significantly increased his fundraising since May 31, he would have to be raising money at an almost unprecedented rate to catch up to Clinton.

It’s not just the low numbers that portend potential disaster for the GOP’s man. It’s the way he arrives at the low numbers that looks scary. There’s no real significant support from top donors—the bedrock of a strong monthly fundraising report. But the Trump campaign picked up just 133 donations that hit the maximum allowed amount of $2,700. Clinton had more donations of $2,700 on just May 17 (140) than Trump had all month, and almost 15 times as many for the entire month (1,981).



More from Think Progress: Trump Said He Had ‘More Cash Than Any Campaign In The History Of Politics.’ That Was A Huge Lie.

Not only is Trump getting lapped by Clinton financially, but his fundraising has been going so poorly that he’s actually behind a good number of U.S. House candidates….

The news sparked renewed concerns that Trump simply won’t be able to fundraise to the extent necessary to run a viable presidential campaign. But during a phone interview on the Today show Tuesday morning, Trump said that if worst comes to worst and Republican donors don’t come around, he could always just self-fund.

“If it gets to a point, what I’ll do is just do what I did in the primaries. I spent $55 million of my own money to win the primaries,” Trump said. “I may do that again in the general election… I have a lot of cash and I may do it again in the general election, but it would be nice to have some help from the party.”

But if he has so much cash, why isn’t he spending it instead of having to deal with being the butt of endless jokes in the media and on Twitter?

Josh Marshall posted this piece before the FEC filings came out: The Real News Is Trump is Broke.

I got onto thinking about this when I saw John McQuaid’s short piece in Forbes. As McQuaid notes, this is the gaping hole, the burning question at the center of Trump’s campaign. Reports suggest that Trump has been unwilling to undergo the ego effacement of calling high dollar Republican donors and asking for money. His campaign has virtually no money in the bank ($2.4m at last count).

Even if Trump can’t not be Trump, the damage of being Trump could at least be off-set by pouring money into advertising in key swing states and field work. But at this moment, the Clinton campaign (and pro-Clinton superPACs) is rolling out a barrage of targeted swing state advertising focused on solidifying and embedding the highly negative image Trump has built for himself over the last year and especially the last eight weeks. That advertising is going entirely unanswered by the Trump campaign.


Why isn’t Trump using his own money, as he keeps threatening to do?

It may take a billion dollars to run a presidential campaign. But at this moment Trump is in dire need of a few million dollars. To go back to cash on hand, Trump currently has $2.4 million and Clinton has just over $30 million. Remember, Trump is allegedly worth $10 billion, which at the risk of stating the obvious means he is worth ten thousand million dollars. Someone in that position might be hard pressed to quickly produce billions of dollars or even hundreds of million in actual cash. But we’re talking tens of millions or even just a few million dollars he needs right now.

Trump may be stingy. He may be saying that the RNC should take responsibility for fundraising, which is something it’s clearly not capable of doing. (The RNC has massive fundraising capacity but it can’t simply take on singlehanded what the candidate was expected to raise.) But as big a disaster as Trump’s campaign is at the moment he stands a real shot at being the next president of the United States. It is simply not credible that he is standing on principle in not giving his campaign any more money at such a critical moment when his bid is being so deeply damaged.

The only credible answer is that it is difficult or perhaps even impossible for him to produce these comparatively small sums. If that’s true, his claim to be worth billions of dollars must either be a pure sham and a fraud or some artful concoction of extreme leverage and accounting gimmickry, which makes it impossible to come up with actual cash.


Here’s Marshall’s reaction to the FEC report (emphasis added):

Let’s face it. Trump is an arrogant man and he’s going through a relentless public shaming right now. If he had the money to get paid staff on the ground and ads on the air, he’d be using it, if only to demonstrate his yuuuuge wealth.


But what really had folks on twitter busy last night was the part about Trump using his campaign funds to reimburse his own businesses and his family members. AP reports: Trump’s campaign cycles $6 million into Trump companies.

Donald Trump’s campaign likes to keep it in the family.

When Trump flies, he uses his airplane. When he campaigns, he often chooses his properties or his own Trump Tower in New York City, which serves as headquarters. His campaign even buys Trump bottled water and Trump wine.

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee has been on the campaign trail for a year now, and federal finance reports detail a campaign unafraid to co-mingle political and business endeavors in an unprecedented way — even as he is making appeals for donations.

Through the end of May, Trump’s campaign had plunged at least $6.2 million back into Trump corporate products and services, a review of Federal Election Commission filings shows. That’s about 10 percent of his total campaign expenditures…..

Wealthy political candidates in the past have walled off their business from their campaigns, but Trump embraces his companies. Public documents indicate his revenue has risen along with his presidential aspirations.

While Trump’s controversial comments have cost his businesses money — for example, the PGA Tour recently announced it would move its World Golf Championship from a Trump course to one in Mexico City — Trump reported in documents filed in May with federal regulators that his revenue had increased by roughly $190 million over the previous 17 months.

Apparently, running for the presidency is just another money-making scheme to Trump. You can read the details about how how Trump spent his campaign money in May at The Washington Post.


One more interesting bit from the Trump FEC filings: Trump paid $35,000 each to “Draper Sterling,” at an address in New Hampshire. It sounds a little like the fictional ad agency in Mad Men, and late last night lots of people were trying to figure out if it is a legitimate company. Josh Legum at Think Progress: The Weird Story Behind The Trump Campaign’s $35,000 Payment To ‘Draper Sterling’

The Trump campaign made $35,000 in payments to an entity called “Draper Sterling” for “web advertising.” Three $10,000 payments and one $5,000 payment were placed on the campaign’s American Express card on the same day (see the FEC details at the link) ….

Draper Sterling was registered with the New Hampshire Secretary of State to Jon Adkins, the co-founder of a medical device startup. Its headquarters is Adkins’ home address in residential New Hampshire.

Adkins co-founded the medical device company with Paul Holzer, a former Navy Seal and current medical student at Dartmouth. Holzer was involved in Charlie Baker’s run for governor in 2014 — he ran the campaign’s “voter contact strategy.” He was also part of the “management and strategy team” for Missourians For John Brunner, a candidate for governor.

Trump paid an additional $3,000 each to Holzer and Adkins in May for “field consulting.” Holzer listed Adkins’ home as his address.

Legum learned “Draper Sterling” was also mentioned in an FEC complaint. You’ll have to read about that in the article at Think Progress. It’s still not clear what these guys did for Trump.

There are loads of articles out there about the Trump campaign finances and its chaotic state. This story in the NYT is well worth a read: Donald Trump starts Summer Push with Crippling Money Deficit.

This is shaping up to be an unbelievable election campaign. I’ll have more links for you in the comment thread.

Have a great Tuesday!

51 Comments on “Tuesday Reads: Donald Trump is Broke”

  1. dakinikat says:

    I think the secret is that he really has no money to speak of because he’s one big pyramid scheme.

    • Fannie says:

      Hillary did a great job on Trump today, and said he might not be as rich as he wants everybody to think.

      • dakinikat says:



        In a speech on the economy on Tuesday, Hillary Clinton called out Donald Trump for not releasing his tax returns and wondered out loud what he is trying to hide.

        “You have to ask yourself, what’s he afraid of?” she asked, musing that he may have avoided paying taxes. “Or maybe he isn’t as rich as he claims.”

        Clinton’s speech comes the day after new FEC filings showed Trump’s campaign with a paltry amount of cash on hand for a major party presidential campaign and Trump being forced to loan his campaign $2 million to keep it afloat.

        • Fannie says:

          She handled him so well, and I hope it stunts his growth, so that he never walks in the white house.

          • Joanelle says:

            Yes she did, but honestly I really believe she needs to focus on her vision for the Clinton administration, this will develop a great deal of enthusiasm and draw people into that vision.

            By focusing on Trump she just lowers her own campaign to his level.

            I really don’t want to see her wallow in the mud with the Donald, although I’m sure he continue to will try to provoke that-that’s how he was able to knock off all the other Republicans from the campaign

          • Fannie says:

            Joanelle, Hillary will never stoop to his level, never. She did protect her name and foundation, and replied to all his lies. She stands tall against little wiki dick.

    • NW Luna says:

      he’s one big pyramid scheme

      That’s what I think also. Fast-talking, flamboyant, shouts down and belittles disbelievers — tries to sell a “great” product to credulous bigots. He’s a slimey used-car salesman with a car that’ll blow up after it’s driven off the lot.

      • joanelle says:

        You’d think he would have been smart enough to know it would come out after the world learned about Madoff

  2. bostonboomer says:


  3. Fannie says:

    Fantastic speech on hard working Americans, and going after Trump. She truly hit home for all of us.

    Can’t wait to hear your thoughts!

  4. bostonboomer says:

    This is a really interesting article from the WaPo. It suggests to me that Trump is just using his presidential campaign to make money for himself. If he were president, he’d do the same thing.

    Inside Trump’s financial ties to Russia and his unusual flattery of Vladimir Putin.

    • jan says:

      I’ve been saying that he has been running as a big advertising effort to raise his companies out of failure. I thought that the glow of ‘presidential candidate’ was an effort to raise his companies’ reputation and bring in new customers. But lately he has reminded me of Hitler so much. Hitler was also a perpetual failure, wasn’t he?

    • pdgrey says:

      Wish I could read it, I have used my article numbers for the month. I have to many medical bills to even tack on one dollar!

  5. bostonboomer says:


  6. bostonboomer says:


  7. Minkoff Minx says:

    Wonkette is funny:


    Check out the few post on there.

    Donald Trump Poor LOL | Wonkette

    • NW Luna says:

      By the way, NINE TIMES is also how much longer Hillary’s “fingers” are than Trump’s. (Allegedly, according to what we heard.)

      Poor widdle Twumpie. Bwhaha!

  8. NW Luna says:

    Fantastic news for our state! This is so important, since so many smaller hospitals have been swallowed up by huge Catholic hospital systems.

    Court: Public hospitals must provide abortions on-site if they also offer maternity services, a Washington state judge said Tuesday.

    The ruling from Skagit County Superior Court Judge Raquel Montoya-Lewis concerns the state’s third-largest public hospital district, Skagit Regional Health, and Skagit Valley Hospital in Mount Vernon, which routinely refers patients to Planned Parenthood when they seek abortions.

    The American Civil Liberties Union of Washington sued the district in 2015 as part of a campaign to make sure public health care facilities follow the state’s abortion rights law, the Reproductive Privacy Act, passed by voter initiative in 1991. The law prevents the state from interfering with a woman’s right to have an abortion, requires the state to pay for voluntary abortions for low-income women, and says that if a public hospital provides maternity services it must also provide “substantially equivalent” abortion services.

    The hospital argued that it’s OK with having abortions performed on-site, but that it doesn’t have staff members who are willing to provide the services. The law allows health-care providers to opt-out of providing abortions, but the judge said that doesn’t give the entire hospital a right not to offer abortions.

    The organization sued on behalf of Kevan Coffey, a Mount Vernon nurse practitioner who formerly worked at Skagit Valley Hospital. When she would call the hospital’s women’s health department for a patient who wanted or needed to terminate a pregnancy, the department would tell her to refer the patient to Planned Parenthood. She also described it as a personal issue, saying she takes medication that can cause severe birth defects and would need an abortion if she became pregnant.


  9. janicen says:

    I’ve been busy all day and just now am reading through this awesome post. As tired as I am, one thing jumps out at me about the post and everyone’s comments: Isn’t it great that none of us is talking about Bernie anymore?

    I agree with dak’s pyramid comment. I think there was an element of that in Bernie’s campaign as well.

  10. palhart says:

    I suspect Trump’s running for president is a game where he can brag about how smart and rich he is, have audiences that admire his questionable business acumen, and can win with a racist, bullying,and authoritarian swagger. He can brag about all the primaries he won, and by huge numbers. Without revealing how he would preside over 330M people, push his non-existent agenda through Congress, and interact with world leaders, he is now on the precipice of “put-up, or shut-up.” There will be no propping up by a father who co-signed loans, or by banks that hid his non-performing financial status. At this juncture, he’s showing how ill-prepared he is to be a presumptive nominee, having little campaign funds, no experienced staff (or staff), and few ground volunteers. How he maneuvers out of this predicament remains to be seen. He surely has his “blame” list. I can’t see how millions of voters will put their, and their family’s, lives in this man’s hands.

    • Ron4Hills says:

      Rachel was both scathing and comprehensive in her critique of Trumps scampaign.

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        Ron, I know you are from Georgia. I read your comment about Georgia black voters a while back, maybe 3 weeks ago…it was very interesting. I wanted to mention something at the time but that was when my brother died. Just wanted to let you know…it was a good comment. I like to hear what you said. Thank you for commenting.

        • Ron4Hills says:

          Thanks. 😊 I was so sad to hear about your brother.

          I can’t help but just know I do care.