Says it’s just busi­ness; he has also funded eth­i­cally chal­lenged in Congress, cur­rent ri­vals

Chicago Sun-Times - - ELECTIONS 2016 - Paul Singer

Don­ald Trump has in­deed given money to Demo­crat Hil­lary Clin­ton, as his op­po­nents for the Repub­li­can nom­i­na­tion for pres­i­dent have claimed, but fed­eral cam­paign records show he broke dra­mat­i­cally from do­nat­ing to Democrats in fa­vor of GOP can­di­dates in the fall of 2010.

Trump’s last do­na­tions to a Demo­crat came in Septem­ber 2010, when he gave $ 12,400 in two do­na­tions to Sen. Kirsten Gil­li­brand, D- N. Y., and a fundrais­ing com­mit­tee ben­e­fit­ing her and other New York Democrats.

They were his last Demo­cratic do­na­tions, ac­cord­ing to Fed­eral Elec­tion Com­mis­sion records.

Weeks later, a mys­te­ri­ous poll had ap­peared in New Hamp­shire float­ing his name as a pres­i­den­tial can­di­date— Trump said he had noth­ing to do with it — and he told MSNBC’s Morn­ing Joe, “It’s prob­a­ble that I won’t do it but I can tell you, I’m think­ing about it. Some­body has to do some­thing. We are los­ing this coun­try. This coun­try will not be great if some­thing isn’t done rapidly.”

Two days af­ter that in­ter­view, Trump gave $ 50,000 to Amer­i­can Cross­roads, the su­per PAC cre­ated by Repub­li­can uber­strate­gist Karl Rove.

The group was back­ing Repub­li­can can­di­dates across the coun­try, in­clud­ing Chris Gib­son, a New York Army vet­eran run­ning for the U. S. House seat that Gil­li­brand had va­cated when she was el­e­vated to the Se­nate.

At that point, Trump had given $ 254,000 to Demo­cratic can­di­dates and PACs, $ 182,000 to Repub­li­cans. Since then, he’s do­nated over $ 600,000 to fed­eral cam­paigns, all to Repub­li­can causes and can­di­dates, FEC records show.

As Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, one of Trump’s op­po­nents for the Repub­li­can nom­i­na­tion, said, Trump wrote “checks to Hil­lary Clin­ton not once, not twice, not three times. Ten times.”

Trump gave $ 8,500 to Clin­ton in 10 do­na­tions from 2002 to 2009, when she was a sen­a­tor from his home state of New York, and he also gave more than $ 100,000 to the Clin­ton Global Ini­tia­tive, the non­profit foun­da­tion run by her hus­band, for­mer pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton.

Trump has re­peat­edly de­fended his prior do­na­tions as a busi­ness ex­pense. “I sup­port politi­cians,” he said dur­ing Thurs­day’s de­bate. “In 2008, I sup­ported Hil­lary Clin­ton. I sup­ported many other peo­ple, by the way. And that was be­cause of the fact that I’m in busi­ness.”

In 2012, Trump gave $ 45,000 to Repub­li­can Mitt Rom­ney’s pres­i­den­tial cam­paign and en­dorsed Rom­ney. He had given $ 47,000 to the cam­paigns and PACs of Sen. John McCain of Ari­zona, the GOP’s 2008 pres­i­den­tial can­di­date.

Most of the money for Rom­ney was a lump sum do­na­tion to his fundrais­ing com­mit­tee; the do­na­tions to McCain were scat­tered across var­i­ous cam­paign ac­counts over a 10- year pe­riod.

Thurs­day, Rom­ney called Trump a fraud dur­ing a speech in Utah, and McCain is­sued a state­ment back­ing Rom­ney’s at­tack.

Trump has also funded his pres­i­den­tial op­po­nents. In Jan­uary 2014, he gave $ 5,000 to the PAC sup­port­ing Cruz; in Oc­to­ber of that year he do­nated $ 12,600 to a fundrais­ing ef­fort by Sen. Lindsey Gra­ham of South Carolina, who dropped out of the pres­i­den­tial race in De­cem­ber.

Cam­paign records show that Trump has also given to a bi­par­ti­san col­lec­tion of of­fi­cials who have en­coun­tered eth­i­cal prob­lems, many of whom had to re­sign from of­fice. They in­clude:

Rep. Rob An­drews, D- N. J.: In 2008, Trump gave $ 6,900 to An­drews, who left Congress while the House Ethics Com­mit­tee was in­ves­ti­gat­ing his use of cam­paign funds for per­sonal ac­tiv­i­ties.

Rep. Charles Ran­gel, D- N. Y.: On sev­eral oc­ca­sions be­tween 2001 and 2005, Trump do­nated to Ran­gel’s cam­paign and a PAC Ran­gel runs, to­tal­ing $ 26,000. Ran­gel was cen­sured by the House in 2010 for fail­ure to pay taxes on a va­ca­tion prop­erty and for so­lic­it­ing do­na­tions to Ran­gel Cen­ter from or­ga­ni­za­tions that had busi­ness be­fore his com­mit­tee.

Rep. Mark Fo­ley, R- Fla.: Trump gave $ 8,500 to Fo­ley in sev­eral do­na­tions be­tween 1997 and 2006. Fo­ley quit Congress in 2006 when it was re­vealed he had been send­ing sex­u­ally sug­ges­tive mes­sages to teenage boys in the con­gres­sional page pro­gram.

Rep. An­thony Weiner, D- N. Y.: In 2007 and again in 2010, Trump do­nated to Weiner, who is mar­ried to Huma Abe­din, one of Hil­lary Clin­ton’s top aides. The do­na­tions to­taled $ 4,300. Weiner re­signed in 2011 af­ter it was re­vealed he was send­ing sex­u­ally sug­ges­tive texts to sev­eral women.

As Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas said, Trump wrote “checks to Hil­lary Clin­ton not once, not twice, not three times. Ten times.”


Don­ald Trump and Hil­lary Clin­ton

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