Even Trump’s Kids Haven’t Donated to His Campaign
No Ivanka. No Donald Jr. No Rudy, Newt, or Chris Christie. None of Trump’s inner circle invested in his campaign—even as he asked working people for a few bucks.
With less than two weeks until the election, Donald Trump has amassed an impressive army of small donors, fueling his bid with individual contributions of $200 or less. But noticeably absent from the list of contributors is basically anyone with the last name Trump, many of the surrogates who represent The Donald on national television, and members of his own campaign staff.
According to a review of Federal Election Commission filings by The Daily Beast, only one of Trump’s children showed up on a list of itemized receipts for the campaign: Eric. On Sept. 7, 2016, Eric Trump appears to have contributed $376.20 listed only as “meeting expense: meals.” It appears that money was later refunded. Eric Trump did not respond to a request for comment about the transaction.
Ivanka Trump, who previously contributed to Hillary Clinton and John McCain in 2007 and 2008 respectively, does not appear to have given to her father.
Donald Trump Jr., who contributed to Iowa congressman Steve King in 2014 and Hillary Clinton in 2007, is also nowhere to be found.
And a search for Tiffany Trump yielded no results.
The Trump children are not the only prominent figures in his orbit who have not invested in the mogul’s presidential bid.
Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, the former Defense Intelligence Agency director turned Trump warm-up act, has not given the candidate a dime. Neither has Governor Chris Christie, Trump’s first rival for the presidency to endorse him. Christie gave his own campaign the maximum allowable contribution of $2,700 on Sept. 29, 2015.
Many of Trump’s surrogates, who have been generous in previous campaigns, this year have kept their wallets closed to The Donald.
Newt Gingrich contributed $4,600 to John McCain in 2008 but has yet to give any money to Trump’s campaign. Ben Carson, another staunch Trump defender, gave Mitt Romney $1,000 in April 2012 but nothing to Trump this cycle.
The rest of the Trump circle of staffers, advisers, and surrogates who are absent from his FEC filings includes: former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, adviser and attorney Michael Cohen (an admitted registered Democrat), and former executive of Breitbart and Trump’s campaign CEO Steve Bannon.
There’s no law or general practice that dictates whether family members or staffers should or should not give to presidential campaigns with which they are affiliated. And contributions below $200 are not required to be reported by presidential campaigns. But in this cycle, Trump’s family has remained particularly involved, often serving as surrogates in place of leading Republicans who are not campaigning on his behalf.
“That category is not among the prohibited sources of contributions: corporations, labor organizations, national banks; federal government contractors; and foreign nationals,” Judith Ingram, the press officer for the FEC, told The Daily Beast in an email regarding staffer contributions.
“Family members can give, too, as long as they stick with the limits,” she added.
Staff may not give contributions if the individual running is a member of Congress, which is obviously not the case for either Trump or Clinton.
The kind of anything goes rule when it comes to donations applies evenly to both candidates in the race and some of Clinton’s team is not on record providing contributions either.
A search for Brian Fallon, Clinton’s press secretary, in FEC records returned no results for contributions this cycle. However, Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta appears to have given $2,700 on April 16, 2015. And Chelsea Clinton gave her mother’s campaign $2,700 on Jan. 21, 2016. There are also documented contributions from newly-appointed Democratic National Committee chair Donna Brazile, Clinton’s campaign manager Robby Mook, and former strategist for President Obama David Axelrod.
Trump’s campaign manager Kellyanne Conway told The Daily Beast that she and her husband gave $25,000 to Trump Victory Fund, the joint fundraising committee between the campaign and the RNC, on October 1.
One major Clinton surrogate who is noticeably absent from her extensive list of contributors is billionaire Mark Cuban who has been a public thorn in Trump’s side.
“No. Not to any candidate. Not to any pac,” Cuban told The Daily Beast when asked if he had or would contribute to the campaign. “I want to retain my independence.”
The Trump and Clinton campaigns did not respond to a request for comment about their respective policies when it comes to these contributions.
While it’s up to the discretion of individual family members when it comes to campaign contributions, one adviser to Romney’s 2012 campaign described it as a common occurrence.
“Family members donating to a campaign, especially brothers and sisters, is an absolutely common practice,” Kevin Madden, Romney’s former spokesman, told The Daily Beast.
“Immediate family members making contributions, like sons or daughters, are also pretty common, but it’s not unusual for them to not donate, either. Campaign staff making donations can be unusual, and you never want to put pressure on staff to feel like they have to in order to keep some standing inside the campaign, especially when they are providing the campaign valuable resources like time and effort.”
When the Trump campaign began soliciting online donations in June, the candidate asked for a paltry $10 from each contributor—an appeal his millionaire kids didn’t respond to. The request resulted in a quick $3 million haul from his supporters though. And by September, Trump had paid his own businesses around $8.2 million, comprised of rent, food, and facilities and payroll for corporate staffers. He even used tens of thousands of dollars in campaign donations to buy copies of his own book.
Meanwhile, Trump is still asserting that he will invest $100 million in his own campaign. But with less than two weeks left in the race, he’s almost 50 percent short of meeting that goal. Trump gave an additional $30 thousand of his own money in October, bringing his total to less than $57 million.