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David Fahrenthold: Trump could be keeping funds ‘for his own purposes’

Former U.S. President Donald Trump addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) held in the Hyatt Regency on Feb. 28, 2021 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

During the Conservative Political Action Conference, former president Donald Trump told people to visit his website if they want to “help us take back the future of our country.”

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KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross noticed that this fundraising effort wasn’t “go to the RNC and give money.” While Dave also recognized that Trump’s website is endorsed by a Republican organization, he said it sounds like he’s “putting together a war chest full of money that he will personally control.”

“He’s been doing that since the election,” replied David Fahrenthold, Washington Post reporter. “All the post-election, stop the steal stuff went to PACs controlled by him. I think that’s the worry for a lot of Republicans is that they’re giving him all this loyalty, and in return he’s taking the money and keeping it for his own purposes.”

“So some of it presumably will be used to help Republican candidates. But Trump also faces a huge amount of legal bills that have nothing really to do with the Republican Party that he’s going to want money to deal with,” he added. “So I do think Republicans have to be worried that while they’re sucking up to him, he’s siphoning away their money.”

There are restrictions on how this money can be spent, but Fahrenthold says the limits are few.

“The Leadership PAC that [Trump] started, this thing he started after he lost the presidential election, there are very, very few limits on what you can do with that money,” he explained. “I don’t think you can use it to just transfer to your bank account, but you can use it to pay all kinds of expenses, including legal bills, travel fees. You could rent office space.”

“There’s lots of ways that money could end up in his own pocket,” Fahrenthold added. “… He put a lot of campaign money in his pocket, and there’s a lot more restrictions on campaign money than there will be on this money.”

Listen to the full interview below:

Pulitzer Prize winning reporter David Fahrenthold joins KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross every Tuesday on Seattle’s Morning News. Listen to Seattle’s Morning News weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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