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Trump remains Republican Party’s biggest fundraiser, pulling in more than $50m this year

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Out of office and banned from social media, Donald Trump is still a fundraising powerhouse.

According to a report by The New York Times, committees affiliated with the former president raised about $56 million in the first months of 2021. That’s more than was raised by any of the official fundraising wings of the Republican Party, and more than any other GOP figure.

The Trump Make America Great Again Committee raised $34.3 million, which it shares with the Republican National Committee. Separately, Mr Trump’s two other political action committees raised $21 million. The Times gathered its data from the federal filings of WinRed, the Republican Party’s main website for online donations.

Mr Trump had told his supporters in February to donate only to organizations directly associated with him, not to ones controlled by the Republican Party.

“There’s only one way to contribute to our efforts to elect ‘America First’ Republican conservatives and, in turn, to make America great again, and that’s through Save America, PAC, and DonaldJTrump.com,” the former president said in a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference.

Mr Trump’s supporters appear to have followed his instructions. His fundraising has clearly outpaced the GOP’s – a surprising result given the ignominy in which he left office. Mr Trump was defeated in the 2020 election, then lost dozens of court cases trying to delegitimise the results, and on his way out was impeached a historic second time after a mob of his supporters stormed the US Capitol.

None of that appears to have put a dent in his fundraising prowess.

At least some of the money Mr Trump has raised, however, was gathered through his and WinRed’s recurring donation feature, which was the subject of a previous investigation by the Times. As the newspaper discovered, that feature has led many Trump supporters to unwittingly donate not once, but again and again for weeks, until thousands of dollars were unexpectedly withdrawn from their bank accounts.

Both WinRed and Mr Trump’s campaign denied any wrongdoing.

“Our campaign was built by the hardworking men and women of America and cherishing their investments was paramount to anything else we did,” Jason Miller, a spokesperson for Mr Trump, told the Times.

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