Dem 51
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GOP 49
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The Candidates Are Burning Through Their Cash

Presidential campaigns are horrendously expensive and both Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis are burning through cash at a prodigious rate. Trump's main PAC, Save America, began last year with $105 million in the bank. Now it is down to $4 million. A large chunk of its money has gone to pay Donald Trump's many lawyers. In fact, so much went for lawyers that Save America is asking Trump's super PAC, Make America Great Again Inc., to return $60 million it gave it earlier this year. So far, MAGA Inc. has given back $12 million. That is nearly the entire amount MAGA Inc. raised from donors this year.

This movement of money is due to the fact that the laws are different for political action committees (like Save America) and super PACs (like MAGA, Inc.). PACs, such as Save America, are banned from spending money to aid campaigns. Trump's had a lot of money, so it gave $60 million to MAGA Inc., which CAN spend money on campaigns. Super PACs can raise unlimited money but regular PACs have a $5,000 per donor limit. The whole thing leaks like a sieve and Trump's lawyers are exploiting that to the hilt. But the bottom line here is that money is running short and not coming in at the rate that it is going out. With trials expected in four jurisdictions in the next year, the burn rate will shoot up astronomically. Therefore Trump has to balance campaign expenses against legal expenses and put money where it is currently needed. He will also have to up the grift. The griftees can now expect at least one email an hour telling them that their donation will be matched 1000%, 2000%, or some other magical and made-up number, but only if they send the money within the hour.

DeSantis' situation is different. He is just spending like a drunken sailor. His super PAC has burned through $34 million in recent months while his standing in the polls has dropped like a stone. Nevertheless, the super PAC, Never Back Down, had $97 million at the end of June, more than Trump and vastly more than any other Republican candidate. Most of that ($82 million) came from his state PAC. As a sitting governor with power to affect many businesses in Florida, DeSantis could count on money just magically flowing in. Also, early in the cycle, big donors, many of whom are afraid Trump can't beat Biden, were betting heavily on DeSantis and dropping large amounts of cash into his super PAC. They have become much more cautious of late.

DeSantis' campaign, which is a different entity from the super PAC, has already hit financial problems and has laid off a third of the campaign staff. You don't do that if the money is streaming in. DeSantis was never good with small donors and now that the big donors are taking a wait-and-see approach, times are tight.

Trump is obviously willing to bend the law about what PACs and super PACs can do to the breaking point and then just keep going. So is DeSantis, only differently. What he is doing is having his super PAC pay for all kinds of expenses that normally a campaign pays for, like running events, polling, and much more. This is illegal, but when you have a nomination to win and you are out of cash, who cares about pesky laws? (V)

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