Money money money
October 11, 2019

President Trump's very open wallet doesn't exactly seem to be paying off.

So far in this campaign, pro-Trump committees have spent a whopping $531 million on his 2020 re-election campaign, The Washington Post reports. That's more than eight times what Trump's campaign spent by the time he effectively secured the GOP nomination in 2016, but in polls matching him up with Democratic contenders, he's still falling behind.

Trump has had no trouble raking in funding throughout the 2020 race, raising a combined $125 million in tandem with the Republican National Committee in the third fundraising quarter. For comparison, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) topped the Democrats with $25.3 million that quarter. That haul has allowed Trump to pour dollars into Democratic attack ads, with committees spending $10 million on them already, per the Post. Trump is also increasing his consulting power, hiring just 19 consultants to work on his campaign in 2016 but employing more than 200 today.

But all that spending doesn't mean Trump will be able to secure the swing states he scored last time around. A national Fox News poll in August put former Vice President Joe Biden, Sanders, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) over Trump by at least six points each, while a Quinnipiac University poll in October maintained Biden, Sanders and Warren's success.

Biden has meanwhile been beating Trump in Texas since April of this year, per a poll, while a September poll showed five other Democrats were topping Trump as well. Of course, if there's anything we learned in 2016, it's that polls involving Trump aren't always on target. Kathryn Krawczyk

October 1, 2019

President Trump has a fundraising feat of his own to share.

Together with the Republican National Committee, the Trump campaign raised a whopping $125 million in the third fundraising quarter of 2019, Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale announced Tuesday. That's significantly more than Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I-Vt.) recordbreaking haul, and could even beat the combined total raised by all the 2020 Democrats in the past three months.

Monday marked the Federal Election Commission deadline for third-quarter fundraising for 2020 presidential candidates, and most of them started to report those totals Tuesday morning. That's when Sanders revealed his $25.3 million gain, up from $18 million in the second quarter and the largest single-quarter haul of any Democrat this cycle. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) announced he'd pulled in $6 million, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) said she'd gotten $11.6 million, and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg reported $19.1 million.

Yet even combined, those dollars don't come near the Trump total. It's not clear just yet how much of that money came from general RNC donations and how much went right to the Trump campaign, but it does leave Trump with a massive $156 million war chest of cash on hand, Parscale tweeted.

Still, there's no telling the 2020 Democrats' combined third-quarter fundraising total just yet, seeing as the top two contenders, former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), have yet to reveal their Q3 hauls. Kathryn Krawczyk

August 8, 2019

White Democratic candidates aren't doing so hot with non-white donors.

Scratch that, no 2020 candidates have a very big portion of their donations coming from people of color. Despite the Democratic party showing increasing numbers of minority support, an analysis of campaign finance data from Sludge and Data for Progress reveals that of donors who gave $200 or more, just one candidate racked up even a third of their donations from non-white supporters.

Donations of less than $200 don't have to be provided to the Federal Election Commission, so people who gave less aren't necessarily reflected in campaign finance data. Still, of the data available, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) has the highest portion of donations from people of color, at 33.4%. The vast majority of that segment came from Asian donors, who made up 32% of Gabbard's overall donor base. Andrew Yang is next with 33.1% of his donors being non-white, and 29.3% Asian donors overall. Julián Castro has 31.6% non-white voters, largely thanks to 26.9% of his donations coming from Latino backers.

There's a large jump before we arrive at Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), who got 7.5% of her donations from self-described African-American voters. Still, just 14.9% of her donors were non-white, giving a total of $820,776. Closely behind are New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

At the other end of the spectrum, South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg got the most money from white donors, at $6,950,825. Sludge couldn't find a single African-American donor giving over $200 to former Rep. John Delaney, while Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) had just one African-American donor and six non-white donors overall.

Find more donor analysis at Sludge and Data for Progress. Kathryn Krawczyk

June 17, 2019

Pete Buttigieg apparently didn't think his first quarter haul was impressive enough.

Over the first three months of 2019, the South Bend, Indiana mayor and 2020 Democrat pulled in $7 million in fundraising dollars. But in the next month, he managed to double his total with another $7 million in April alone, Politico reports.

Buttigieg's first quarter intake was already intimidating, seeing as it came from a pretty unknown candidate whose only political experience comes from leading Indiana's fourth largest city. It was a tiny fraction of what Beto O'Rourke raised during that same time — the Texas Democrat brought in $7.1 million in his first 24 hours in the race. Still, the seemingly high-profile Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) only took in $6 million during the first quarter, and she'd been in the race since December.

The second quarter of 2019's fundraising hasn't wrapped yet, but Buttigieg decided to spill things early. He told top donors in a conference that he'd brought in $7 million in April, and "hopes to do it again next month by announcing a top-tier second quarter haul that at least doubles his last campaign finance report," Politico writes.

A $21 million total would still likely put Buttigieg behind fundraising juggernaut Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who reported making $18.2 million in the first quarter. And seeing as that attention-grabbing month came amid a moment of stardom for Buttigieg, it's unclear if he can make that momentum last. Kathryn Krawczyk

May 16, 2019

It's not his tax returns, but President Trump did release some financial information to the world on Thursday.

Along with nearly every lawmaker and 2020 candidate, Trump released his 2018 financial disclosure forms on Thursday. It's a predictably sparse document, which only shows a range of valuations of Trump's assets and income, but it does reveal some contrasts between Trump's 2017 hotel earnings and last year's.

For starters, Trump's Washington, D.C. hotel — where the president's allies tend to stay when they visit the capital — reported a massive $40 million in income throughout 2017, its first year in business. Revenue went up to $40.8 million this year, The New York Times reports via this year's disclosure. Yet Trump's favored Mar-a-Lago result saw an almost 10 percent revenue decrease in 2018 from the year before.

Trump's disclosure form also records six loans and mortgages of up to $50 million, and another eight of up to $25 million. Two of them are for the Trump National Doral result, which was reported by The Washington Post to be in "steep decline" just a few days ago. Several others are for golf clubs, hotels, and resorts, and one taken on in 2018 is for an undisclosed piece of real estate.

Still, Forbes is sure to point out that this form doesn't show who is paying Trump, exactly how much he and his businesses are making, or his debt. That information would only be discernable from tax returns, which Trump is fighting subpoenas in an effort to keep hidden. Kathryn Krawczyk

April 10, 2019

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is turning out to be a big spender on the campaign trail — but it's unclear if that's paying off.

The 2020 candidate revealed her first-quarter fundraising haul on Wednesday, sharing in an email to supporters that she'd pulled in $6 million from 135,000 donors. That total isn't too hefty when compared with more mainstream and even underdog rivals — and Warren isn't exactly stashing it all for a rainy day, either.

Warren's Q1 total comes in at about a third of funds raised by frontrunner Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who reported last week that he'd raked in $18 million from 525,000 individual donors over the same time period. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), who's slightly ahead of Warren in most polls, said she got $12 million from 218,000 people. Warren's total doesn't even look great in comparison to once-longshot candidate Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Indiana, who said he's gotten $7 million from an undisclosed number of donors.

Warren has already spent $4.6 million, or 85 percent, of her Q1 earnings, which Politico notes means she's "spending like a front-runner but isn't yet raising money like one." Still, she has an additional $10.4 million in the bank after transferring unused Senate election funds to her presidential election stash. That's a sizable war chest for a candidate who reportedly lost her finance director because he didn't like her small-money donation commitment. Kathryn Krawczyk

April 4, 2019

President Trump has reportedly decided to nominate Herman Cain for a seat on the Federal Reserve Board. Previous reports suggested Cain was under consideration, but sources told Bloomberg on Thursday that the president now intends to move forward with the nomination.

Cain, the former CEO of the Godfather's Pizza chain, ran for president in 2012 and last year co-founded a pro-Trump super-PAC. He previously directed the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, and has supported higher interest rates, which Trump has criticized as damaging to the economy.

Cain's most famous policy idea was a "9-9-9" tax plan, which sought to implement a flat 9 percent tax rate. Cain's past settlement with women who accused him of sexual harassment could be an issue during his Senate confirmation hearing, sources previously told Bloomberg. Cain has denied any wrongdoing.

Axios reports Trump is merely waiting for Cain's background check to be complete before announcing the move. "He likes Cain and wants to put him on there," a source said.

Trump has announced plans to additionally nominate former campaign adviser Stephen Moore to the Fed board. Read more at Bloomberg. Summer Meza

December 6, 2018

President Trump is very happy to chat about his 50 percent approval rating. Some more important numbers? Not so much.

Despite the stock market absolutely plummeting over the past few days, Trump hasn't tweeted about stocks since Nov. 12, Bloomberg points out. Perhaps that's because Trump's uncertain trade reconciliation with China likely contributed to the plunge.

Still, Trump's silence doesn't change the fact that the Dow Jones Industrial Average slid nearly 800 points on Tuesday and another 700 Thursday morning, two of the largest one-day falls since October. On Oct. 16, Trump crowed that the stock market had risen 548 points that day. But he went silent during an Oct. 23 plunge, reemerging Oct. 30 to point out that "the stock market is up massively since the election." During a market surge between July and October, Trump tweeted at least 18 times about the uptick, touting the "all-time highs" and congratulating "all of you that have made a fortune in the markets."

Perhaps Trump's silence has something to do with his economic adviser's interpretation of what a bad stock streak usually indicates. Kathryn Krawczyk

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