Deadbeat Donald Trump: A Cheap Bastard Who Stiffed Top Campaign Staff. Surprise?
Listen: Donald Trump doesn't even pay some of his top staffers. Sorry, should we have warned you to sit down first? That's usually the kind of penny-ante bullshit we learn about after a campaign completely tanks, but Donald Trump has a reputation for not paying his bills to keep up, now doesn't he?
Reuters took a look at Trump's FEC filings and learned that at least ten (10) "top staffers, consultants and advisers" have yet to be paid, even though some of them no longer even work for the Trump campaign. It followed up to double check that these top-flight campaign people hadn't simply volunteered their valuable time, and at least one said he really, really was not a volunteer, while the others had no comment. Perhaps they didn't read the small print at the bottom of their contracts that said "By the way, you are aware you're working for Donald J. Trump, right? You pathetic sucker."
Those who have so far not been paid, the filings show, include recently departed campaign manager Paul Manafort, California state director Tim Clark, communications director Michael Caputo and a pair of senior aides who left the campaign in June to immediately go to work for a Trump Super PAC.
The New York real estate magnate and his allies have touted his campaign's frugality, saying it is evidence of his management skills [...] But not compensating top people in a presidential campaign is a departure from campaign finance norms. Many of the positions involved might typically come with six-figure annual paychecks in other campaigns.
You don't say! Obviously, Reuters must be mistaken about all this, right? What does the Trump campaign have to say about these scurrilous allegations that a notorious deadbeat in business is acting like a notorious deadbeat who's running for president?
The Trump campaign said the Reuters' reporting was "sloppy at best" but declined to elaborate.
Well, then. As Donald Trump says, believe me, that's not true. Maybe Melania will address what Reuters got wrong when she holds that press conference detailing her immigration status, any day now. So, let's see what that sloppy reporting looks like!
One of the 10 who were unpaid, Michael Caputo, told a Buffalo radio station in June after he resigned from the campaign, that he was not volunteering. Rather, he said he just had not gotten paid. Caputo confirmed to Reuters on Thursday that the Trump campaign has still not paid his invoices.
OK, so there's one guy who was definitely stiffed. In another case, a very cynical person might almost think the Trump campaign very strategically left a couple of staffers unpaid in order to skirt Federal Elections Commission regulations:
[T]wo high-level former Trump campaign advisers, former Chris Christie campaign manager Ken McKay and Manafort lobbying associate Laurance Gay, departed the Trump campaign in June and went to work for the Trump-backed Super PAC, Rebuilding America Now. In June, the Super PAC paid each of them $60,000, the filings show.
Federal campaign law stipulates that people working for campaigns, who may possess strategic knowledge of a campaign or work as a campaign’s agents, must wait for 120 days before going to work for a Super PAC, a political spending group that can accept unlimited sums of money from wealthy donors so long as it does not coordinate with a campaign.
Through a spokesperson, McKay and Gay said they were volunteering for Trump and did not possess strategic information so the rule did not apply to them.
Oh, well there you go. After working in top positions for other politicos, these guys were mere volunteers for Trump, probably just stuffing envelopes. Lucky thing they had at least a little experience so the super PAC could justify their salaries. But it would be unthinkable the campaign and the PAC would have coordinated that, since it's illegal.
So who else is working for free on the Trump campaign?
Another example of free labor is Rick Gates, who was Manafort's deputy. According to two former high-level Trump staffers, Gates essentially functioned as the Trump campaign manager for more than two months, all while not collecting a paycheck.
By contrast, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager Robby Mook earned roughly $10,000 in July, the same amount as President Barack Obama’s campaign manager Jim Messina did in 2012. That same year, Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s campaign manager, Matt Rhoades, was making nearly $7,000 bi-monthly.
Others who, according to the FEC filings, have not been paid include finance chairman Steven Mnuchin, national political director Rick Wiley and senior adviser Barry Bennett, who were not available for comment. Nor were Manafort, Gates and Clark.
So maybe there's only the one guy who actually got stiffed, and the others are simply very, very generous with their time and expertise. It's not unknown, says Reuters, pointing out that John Podesta, Hillary Clinton's campaign chair, "considers his role honorary and does not draw a salary." Could be that Donald Trump is simply far better at attracting top-flight staff who enjoy not drawing a salary. Even Kellyanne Conway, who joined the campaign as a pollster and advisor July 1 before becoming Trump's brand new campaign manager in August, hasn't been paid, according to the FEC reports. She also had no comment on her salary situation, probably because she didn't want the others in the campaign to feel jealous. Or maybe they're all illegal aliens who insist on being paid under the table, so La Migra won't catch them.
[wonkbar][/wonkbar]Ooh, you want proof they're volunteers? They aren't talking to the press, which means they signed that volunteer nondisclosure agreement and are under the Trump Gag Order (ew).
We can hardly wait to see how Trump applies his business acumen to governing. Maybe he'll pay for fighter jets by writing the check with glittery purple ink and tearing off one corner so it takes longer to process. Or balance the budget by "forgetting" to send out Social Security checks for a few months.
At least Steve Bannon's getting paid, although how the campaign managed to convert his salary into Reichsmarks is beyond us.
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