In late June it was variously reported that Trump was to convert the loans he had made to his campaign into a contribution ("In move to reassure donors, Trump converts $50 million of campaign loans into donations" (e.g., Matea Gold, Washington Post, June 23). These stories were based upon a June 23 letter Trump sent to the FEC. This letter was received by the FEC, per its time stamp, on July 21. It reads as follows:
Reports Analysis Division
Federal Election Commission
999 E Street NW
Washington, DC 20463
IDENTIFICATION NUMBER: C00580100
REFERENCE: LOAN FORGIVENESS
To Whom It May Concern:
This letter serves to state that all of my loans to the Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. (C00580100) committee are forgiven. Thank you and please let me know if you have any further questions.
Donald J. Trump
On the top of the letter is a hand stamp that reads "HAND DELIVERED" and below which reads,
T R U M P
Make America Great Again
Within a week thereafter, there were published reports of Trump not converting his loans into a campaign contribution. Since late June and through this past weekend, there has been no further reporting on whether Trump converted his loans into a contribution. Yet, we hear over and over again from Trump himself that he is funding his campaign into the $millions with his own money and tells us so with very clear and explicit words. Before he stepped down, Manaforte told Jake Tapper on CNN that the campaign had raised $130M+ in the last three months with former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, saying the campaign hauled in $82M in July. And with little currently being spent on ads ($4.0M or so), the rest of the haul is parked in some bank account. Or, in a Socratic way, is a chunk of this money earmarked for Trump himself?
Reasons to question the loan vs. contribution follow.
First, if the above quoted letter is to be believed, just what does loans being "forgiven" mean? Does this translate into a contribution, or something less, to satisfy the requirements of the FEC? As well, doesn't the FEC have an official form that candidates are required to fill out to convert loans into a contribution? If so, a three line letter using the word "forgive" surely would not seem to comply. Third, the above quoted letter is dated June 23, yet what about funds Trump has loaned the campaign since June 23. Has he sent the FEC an official form converting loans he has made after June 23 into a campaign contribution?
Trump touts himself as a successful businessman, a billionaire many times over in fact (though since he won't disclose his tax returns we really don't know). His life's mission is to make money, not lose it. So, one might wonder, with him being down in the polls---though polls can change---and with there being considerable suspicion just whether he really wants to become president with all the work it entails, does he really want to give up $millions of his own money by way of converting it into a contribution, thus throwing away his own money on a "deal" in which he will not be successful? Or, more likely, does he really want to con his supporters that have contributed generously into believing they are not reimbursing him for his loans because he tells everyone he has converted them into a contribution...when, in fact, he has not?
Last, Trump has a reputation of, to reiterate, conning folks. Just listen to him on the campaign trail. He says he is wealthy but won't show us to what extent because, once more, he tells us his tax returns are none of our business. He says Hillary wants to destroy the 2d Amendment once in office though she says just the opposite. So, too, does he state Hillary is not fit mentally and physically---yet she is very much fit, and yet there have been scores of articles on Trump's narcissistic state. Then, too, are the legions of stories where Trump has stiffed vendors that have worked for him and on his real estate projects. So maybe this loan vs. contribution issue is just another con?
Inquiring minds, including the main stream press, certainly should and want to know, and certainly should do further investigation into whether Trump has actually converted all his loans into campaign contributions.
Today's media (August 22) reported that a chunk of whatever Trump has raised is going to reimburse expenses related to his personally-owned aircraft, personally-owned lodgings, etc. As well, he has loaned his campaign another $2.0M, yet there is no reporting that he will, or has, converted it officially to a campaign contribution. Supposedly he filed another document with the FEC in July about his loans, but there has been no publication of it. And in a front page story in these pages (HuffPost), also on August 22, it is being reported that Trump is again conning his supporters by raising the rent at his campaign's Trump Towers space so long as they are paying for it, not him. "Donald Trump Jacked Up His Campaign's Trump Tower Rent Once Somebody Else Was Paying For It" (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/trump-campaign-rent_us_57bba424e4b03d51368a82b9). All this further suggests that Trump remains out for himself, and not even for his supporters contributing to his campaign.