As Trump Kicks Off Fundraising Effort in Santa Monica, Allies Fear Trouble in RNC Deal
The ink is barely dry on the joint fundraising agreement between Donald Trump’s campaign and the Republican National Committee, but discord is already brewing.
As Trump sweeps through California this week holding high-dollar fundraisers to benefit the party and his campaign, a small group of Trump loyalists planned to huddle at an unofficial finance meeting Wednesday to discuss whether the party has Trump’s best interests at heart, according to one GOP donor.
Chief among their concerns: A fundraising agreement that they believe could fill the RNC’s coffers but leave far less to benefit the candidate, as well as a finance team composed of veteran GOP fundraisers with little allegiance to Trump.
Trump’s first fundraising event was expected Wednesday evening at the home of investor Thomas Barrack Jr., and tickets start at $25,000, the Los Angeles Times reported. Barrack’s home is in Santa Monica.
A police officer told KTLA that extra security was added around the Santa Monica home after violence following a Trump rally in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on Tuesday night.
Parts of San Vicente Boulevard were blocked off early Wednesday evening.
Even as the Trump campaign and the RNC begin to work together more closely, the concerns among some financiers highlight the lingering distrust Trump backers feel toward the Republican Party.
“I don’t think the RNC is 100% committed,” to helping the billionaire businessman, the GOP donor said. “If Donald Trump’s seven points down in October, they’re going to put that money toward Senate races and House races.”
Trump, who funded much of his primary campaign from his own fortune, has only just begun to lay the groundwork to raise his goal of roughly $1 billion for the general election. He recently tapped Steven Mnunchin — a newcomer to the GOP fundraising scene who has previously donated to Democrats, including Hillary Clinton — as his finance chair.
But most of the fundraising effort is being run out of the RNC, with the party providing the necessary staff and resources.
“We have built probably the most impressive fundraising operation in political history with some of the most prominent and successful Republican fundraisers,” said Sean Spicer, disputing the notion that the party wasn’t fully supporting Trump.
Under the joint fundraising agreement, Trump can hit up donors for nearly $450,000 to benefit his campaign as well as the GOP. The first $5,400 of those checks goes directly to the Trump campaign.
But some donors are still hoping to convince the campaign to hold a series of fundraisers focused on bringing in smaller, hard dollar checks to pump up Trump’s primary and general election accounts.
“Some of us are going, ‘Hey, we’ve got six weeks to really make it rain,'” before Trump officially becomes the nominee and can no longer accept primary dollars, according to the donor.
Meanwhile, a disjointed web of super PACs supporting Trump has only compounded the confusion. None of them have been even tacitly blessed by the candidate — who spent months railing against big donors — leaving some contributors who’d like to cut six-figure checks still sitting on the sidelines, multiple donors said. Several of the donors unveiled by one of the super PACs as prominent supporters told CNN they still haven’t given a cent to the group.
KTLA’s Melissa Pamer contributed to this article.