The Bulwark’s Tim Miller reports that the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) has taken a cue from the Trump campaign’s fundraising scam that bilked tens of millions from supporters by auto-checking boxes for recurring and doubled donations.
Last week the New York Times dropped a bombshell report detailing the extent to which the Trump campaign had scammed its own supporters into providing them a nine-figure, interest-free loan. The crux of the grift was the Trump campaign’s deceptive email practices which, among other things, chose to make recurring donations the default setting for supporters who were lured in by the campaign’s hyperbolic and conspiratorial fundraising pitches.
As a result, elderly Trump supporters on fixed incomes had their bank accounts depleted, causing their rent and utilities checks to bounce. Altogether the Trump campaign had to refund $122 million in online donations from their own supporters who had been duped.
The NRCC has followed suit, Miller reported.
After hyping the social media site Trump supposedly is developing, a fundraising text message directs supporters to a donation page “where you’re asked to make a contribution in order to be ‘the first to join’ this nonexistent social media site—over which the NRCC has no control,” according to the report.
Then comes the part where in order to uncheck the recurring donation box, supporters must disavow Trump if they want to make a one-time donation.
Next up we’re presented with two boxes that are pre-checked. The first makes the donation monthly recurring—the same gimmick that the Times exposed the Trump campaign for running to disastrous results. The second pre-checked box doubles your donation in order to grant you “Trump Patriot Status.”
Miller’s screenshot of the website shows a box that reads: “We need your help to DRAFT Trump for President! Check this box if you want Trump to run again. Uncheck this box if you do NOT stand with Trump.”
Below, in smaller text, the box says: “Make this a monthly recurring donation.”
When The Intellectualist visited the donation page on Wednesday afternoon, the box read: “We need to know we haven’t lost you to the Radical Left. If you UNCHECK this box, we will have to tell Trump you’re a DEFECTOR & sided with the Dems. CHECK this box and we can win back the House and get Trump to run in 2024.”
It was followed by the same, smaller text about the donation recurring monthly.
I’m sure there’s some formal legal difference between the NRCC tricking someone into signing up for a nonexistent social media site—and then having a default box opting them in to both double their pledged amount and make it recurring—and the criminal advance-fee scams made famous by the imaginary Nigerian princes.
Image credit: Screengrab / @Timodc / Twitter