This is an allegation of textbook wire fraud. https://t.co/Vfq37zcUgJ
— Randall Eliason (@RDEliason) June 13, 2022
The big news on the second day of the Jan. 6 hearings came from a parade of Republicans who testified to Donald Trump’s long plan to reject an election defeat, his refusal to listen to aides who told him otherwise and his still-running Big Lie about election fraud.
But there was also this, from the New York Times account, which bears closer scrutiny:
Investigators went further on Monday, detailing how the Trump campaign and its Republican allies used claims of a rigged election that they knew were false to mislead small donors and raise as much as $250 million for an entity they called the Official Election Defense Fund, which top campaign aides testified never existed.
“Not only was there the big lie,” said Representative Zoe Lofgren, a California Democrat who played a key role in the hearing, “there was the big rip-off.”
Money ostensibly raised to “stop the steal” instead went to Mr. Trump and his allies, including, the investigation found, $1 million for a charitable foundation run by Mark Meadows, his chief of staff; $1 million to a political group run by several of his former staff members, including Stephen Miller, the architect of Mr. Trump’s immigration agenda; more than $200,000 to Trump hotels; and $5 million to Event Strategies Inc., which ran the Jan. 6 rally that preceded the Capitol riot.
Aides said Kimberly Guilfoyle, the girlfriend of Mr. Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr., was paid $60,000 to speak at that event, a speech that lasted less than three minutes.
“It is clear that he intentionally misled his donors, asked them to donate to a fund that didn’t exist and used the money raised for something other than what he said,” Ms. Lofgren said of Mr. Trump.
We now call on Attorney General Leslie Rutledge to be as vigorous in investigating a $250 million alleged mail fraud scheme as she has been in prosecuting much smaller fish in Arkansas, even as she gallivanted around the country in support of Republican ideology, including seditious support of Trump’s Big Lie about the election.
As she said in one consumer protection warning:
Con artists will use any means necessary to trick hardworking individuals out of their money.
There are certain to have been Arkansans taken in by appeals from Trump for money for a non-existent legal defense fund. Could she not announce in the case of Trump’s bogus fund, as she did when suing over Family Dollar’s rat-infested warehouse:
Attorney General Rutledge seeks punitive damages, restitution, and civil penalties through the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (ADTPA) to protect the health, safety and economic well-being of tens of thousands of Arkansas consumers …
Or was a $60,000 payout to Guilfoyle to introduce Donald Trump Junior at a rally beneficial to the economic well-being of Arkansas consumers?
Maybe Rutledge could get her Republican attorneys general running buddies to join her in a national effort.