Trump 'full throttle' to close money gap with Biden ahead of Palm Beach party

Donald Trump is “full speed ahead” to chip away at President Biden's substantial fundraising advantage and has spoken or met with big money donors every day this week ahead of a planned blowout event in Palm Beach. Saturday night, people familiar with his efforts said.

Trump's team knows it's lagging behind and wants to catch up quickly, according to one of the people familiar with its fundraising, who, like others, spoke on condition of anonymity to describe individual activities.

Trump's fundraising team has been asked to secure as many checks as quickly as possible to boost the former president's tally. Republican officials are eager to close the gap so they can compete with Biden's field effort and ad campaigns. They hope to ensure GOP candidates win. But still Trump's legal problems are putting a strain on many of his political groups.

A dinner in Palm Beach this weekend will raise about $50 million, according to people close to Trump. The former president told donors Friday afternoon that he expects to raise $25 million during this weekend's event, which he said he raised with Biden and former presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama during a recent New York fundraiser. On Friday's call.

The Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee said this week they raised more than $65.6 million in March and ended the month with about $93 million, a dramatic improvement over February's results.

But Trump's fundraising machine has lagged far behind Biden's, which had an earlier start in raising funds from wealthy donors through shared accounts with national and state parties. Biden earned more than $90 million in March. The broader Biden effort ended the month with $192 million in cash, more than double what Trump managed.

The Biden team's cash advantage and the Democrats' $25 million New York handout increased pressure on Republican donors to raise enough funds to compete, according to two people familiar with the party's fundraising efforts.

Trump is closely monitoring who attends Saturday's fundraiser, who gave the most and how much was raised, according to someone who spoke to him recently. His advisors regularly brief him on the participants. “He's focused on this fundraising,” said a person familiar with his thinking. “He has a lot of friends in Palm Beach, do they give?”

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In recent weeks, Trump has spent time with donors nearly every day, people close to the former president said.

“Our digital online fundraising continues to soar, our major donor investments are increasing, and Democrats are running scared of President Trump's fundraising prowess,” Trump campaign communications director Steven Cheung said in a statement. Trump allies said Saturday would break records for a political fundraising event.

The Trump 47 Victory Committee can raise up to $814,600 under a joint fundraising agreement negotiated by the campaign and the RNC. The first $6,600 from each check goes to the Trump campaign, the next $5,000 to a leadership PAC that covers legal bills for Trump and some of his associates, and the next $413,000 to the RNC. The remaining dollars from each donation are up to a maximum of $814,600 According to FEC filings and donation forms obtained by The Washington Post, local Republican parties in at least 39 states are consistently allocated.

“The momentum is building momentum,” said a person familiar with the party's fundraising efforts, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss internal party dynamics. “To the joint fundraising team to get behind Trump [the Democrats’ New York event] And raise it by more than 50 percent — and that sends a message to Republican donors.

Biden's team said Friday it was not concerned about Trump's key Palm Beach fundraiser, which includes many donors who will max out their capacity for the rest of the cycle — though they can still give unlimited amounts to third-party groups supporting Trump.

“This weekend is all about a few billionaires figuring out how to pay their legal bills, and we've got millions of grassroots donors supporting our campaign,” said Biden deputy campaign manager Rob Flaherty.

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Top donors to Biden's New York event are not required to give the maximum, with the most expensive tickets going for $500,000, rather than the maximum contribution of $929,600 to the group funding Biden's re-election. About 165,000 small-dollar supporters donated virtually or in person to participate, a Biden official said.

The Biden campaign now finds itself better off than it did at the same point in Obama's re-election bid in 2012. Biden claimed 704,000 individual donors in March, compared to 567,000 for Obama in March 2012. Overall, 1.6 million people have given to the Biden effort so far, 40 percent of whom are new this cycle, his campaign said. That figure represents one in every 50 people who voted for Biden in 2020.

Donors raising money for Trump want to exploit weaknesses in Biden's candidacy and the current political climate in which Trump is beating his opponent in recent swing state polls as quickly as possible, according to people familiar with the party's big-dollar push.

During the contested GOP primary, Republicans were at a disadvantage as Democrats engaged in major raids by groups including the Biden campaign and the Democratic National Committee.

Billionaire hedge fund manager John Paulson is hosting a Trump fundraiser at his home on Saturday, according to a person familiar with the gathering. Some of the country Great politics Donors including former Small Business Administration chairman Linda McMahon, hotelier Steve Wynn and businessman Robert Bigelow are listed as co-chairs in an invitation obtained by The Post. Former Georgia Senate candidate Kelly Loeffler, sugar magnate Jose “Pebe” Fanjul and real estate investor Steve Wittkoff are among the co-chairs.

The fundraiser will also feature some of Trump's former principals Competitors. Sen. Tim Scott (RS.C.), businessman Vivek Ramaswamy and North Dakota Gov. Doug Bergham (R) are listed as “special guests.” Some participants have made the maximum allowed contribution of $814,600 for a seat at Trump's table.

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Now that the RNC and Trump campaign are united, “the financial side of the table is as integrated as I've seen since President George W. Bush's re-election campaign,” said Brian Ballard, a leading Florida lobbyist who helps. Trump is raising money.

But Trump's campaign finance reports in recent months show the tremendous strain his legal troubles are putting on his vast fundraising efforts. Reports filed in January showed that two of Trump's committees, Save America Leadership PAC and Make America Great Again PAC, spent $55.6 million on legal bills in 2023.

In February, Trump's campaign raised nearly $11 million and had $33.5 million in cash on hand — significantly less than the $71 million the Biden campaign had in its coffers at the end of the term. The RNC has trailed the Democratic National Committee in fundraising — reporting $11.3 million in cash at the end of the month to the DNC's $26.6 million.

In February, Save America PAC spent more than it raised — with most of its money going to legal costs. Before Trump joined the RNC to raise money through a new joint fundraising committee, he relied heavily on his own small-dollar donors to help pay legal bills through his own committees. For every dollar raised in his joint fundraising account, he will return 90 cents to his campaign team and 10 cents to the Save America Leadership PAC.

Trump has recently re-wooed some billionaires who backed away from supporting him because of his legal troubles and role in the January 6 attack on the US Capitol. Trump's campaign aides have said the RNC won't pay any of Trump's legal fees — in part to reassure high-dollar donors who want to make sure their donations are used to defeat Biden.

Marianne Levine contributed to this report.

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