It's All Over At The Trump Campaign But The Airing Of Grievances And Shell Companies
Nobody puts Brad Parscale in a corner! Mostly because that arrogant sumbitch has a little trouble staying upright lately. But also because Ol' Chin Pubes is not about to take the fall for Kush and the Trump kids after getting unceremoniously dumped on his ass for Bill "The New Hotness" Stepien.
And now, after the Trump campaign launched an internal audit to find out WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED TO A BILLION DOLLARS, somebody is chatting up Business Insider about all the inside dirt on Team Trump's alleged efforts to keep $617 million in spending off the books.
BI reports that Jared Kushner established a Delaware shell company called American Made Media Consultants, LLC (AMMC) in April 2018. He tapped his sister-in-law Lara Trump as company president, made Mike Pence's nephew John Pence the VP, and installed Trump campaign CFO Sean Dollman as treasurer and secretary. Cozy!
And the money kept rolling in and out.
From January 2019 through the middle of November 2020, the Trump campaign and an affiliated political committee together spent $617 million through American Made Media Consultants.
It was almost half of everything they spent in the failed effort to reelect Trump, according to an Insider review of Federal Election Commission records and analysis provided by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.
Some Trump advisors have long accused Parscale of trying to hide money from the now-outgoing president, occasionally citing AMMC as an example of his obfuscation.
But the campaign actually spent the bulk of the money at AMMC — $415 million — after Trump fired Parscale as campaign manager on July 15.
So don't even think about blaming Brad, you guys. Just kidding, think real hard about it, then come back and enjoy this pack of jackals tearing great chunks out of each other.
See, campaigns have to disclose all their expenditures in quarterly filings with the FEC. So if you're, say, carrying the candidates' extended family on the payroll, you have to tell Uncle Sam that you're writing a $15,000 check every month to Kimberly Guilfoyle. Ditto if you're coughing up regular disbursements of donor cash to people who know a lot of shit about the candidate and might otherwise be reluctant to sign an NDA.
But sometimes you don't want to be telling the people all your business, which is where the shell company comes in. So much nicer to consolidate it into "Eleventy-hundred-thousand dollars for media and software services" paid to some anonymous LLC, right?
Which isn't necessarily illegal — lots of campaigns do it. But as with everything else, the Trump people may have taken it a bit too far, routing almost half of all campaign spending through AMMC. BI says the total was $617 million, while the New York Times pegs it at upwards of $700 million.
And they still lost. A fact which the Stepien people blame on "Parscale's lavish spending [which] forced them to cut budgets during the final weeks leading up to Election Day, just when Trump needed money most." Parscale's people counter that "If Stepien had kept up that pace of spending, they contend, Trump would have defeated Biden." Gosh, it's a shame they can't both lose. Oh, wait!
There's also some, um, confusion as to who on the Good Ship MAGA was aware of what was going on in Kush's Super Seekrit LLC.
"Nothing was done without Jared's approval," one former Trump campaign advisor told BI. "What Stepien doesn't know is because Jared doesn't want him to know."
But other sources dismissed the notion that Stepien and the rest of the campaign side were a pack of naïfs, wondering innocently where half the money went. "They like to say they don't know, but that's not true," another BI source scoffed. "What they wanted was excuses so they could blame other people. If they thought that, why did they keep using it?"
And speaking of excuses, campaign spokesdick Tim Murtaugh is very hot that you should all know that "Lara Trump and John Pence resigned from the AMMC board in October 2019 to focus solely on their campaign activities, however, there was never any ethical or legal reason why they could not serve on the board in the first place. John and Lara were not compensated by AMMC for their service as board members." Suck it, libs!
Sloshing around in a vat of donor cash and blaming each other when shit goes sideways? Well, that doesn't sound like Trumpland at all! We're getting a little weak-kneed just thinking about it. Hope we don't land on our asses like a giant bearded asshole who bragged about piloting the Death Star and wound up starring in a COPS rerun.
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.