It seems like every day we find a new way for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign to reveal its utter incompetence.
Over the past couple of days, Talking Points Memo has reported that politicians in various foreign countries have recently received fundraising emails from Donald Trump and his son, asking for contributions to his campaign. Of course, this is extremely illegal, as foreign nationals cannot contribute to American presidential campaigns. However, there the emails are, sitting in their inboxes with links to send cash.
As TPM’s Josh Marshall has theorized, it appears likely that Trump, in his haste to raise a few million dollars by the end of this month after May’s disastrous fundraising totals, hurriedly went out and bought email lists from some broker. His campaign then just used all the email addresses in the lists without scrubbing them.
Candidly I didn’t know you could easily buy the email list of all members of the Icelandic parliament. But it seems like you can.
Now a few people suggested that maybe someone was just pranking Trump – going to the website and signing up various foreign parliamentarians and dignitaries. But this seems far too systematic for that. It does appear to be every member of each parliament. You’d need to collect each email and then manually add them in on the Trump website, somehow get them to confirm the opt-in confirmation email. It’s too complicated. These are lists that were almost certainly added from within the campaign.
The only plausible answer seems to be that the Trump campaign either dealt with a sloppy or disreputable list broker or was so desperate after its horrible May FEC report was released that it went to a broker and just said they wanted every list and they’d sort it all out later. I confess that both scenarios seem a little farfetched. But some version of one of them basically had to happen, unless there’s a prankster actually inside the campaign.
Marshall also noted that he heard from a Democratic Senator’s staffer that he had also received the emails from Trump’s campaign. The emails came into his official .gov account, which is also against campaign financing law. (Politicians and staffers can contribute to campaigns, but you cannot solicit them through their office or government-sanctioned email accounts.) This gives more credence that the Trump team quickly obtained an email list and then sent to everyone without cross-checking.
Right now, Trump has to raise as much money as possible before midnight Thursday. That will be the end of the month and then official fundraising totals need to be submitted to the FEC by July 20th. That is during the GOP convention. The last thing the party and Trump need as they’re in Cleveland is another report like May’s, showing Trump’s campaign broke.
Therefore, they’ll continue their push for the next 24 or so hours, despite how much it makes them look like one of those Nigerian email scammers. So TPM will likely find more and more foreign dignitaries who’ve received emails from Trump begging them for $5 that he’ll match personally.