According to a CNN report, President Trump’s transition team raised over $6.5 million in donations from people who in the end, landed a Cabinet position. CNN obtained the explosive info from the General Services Administration through the Freedom of Information Act.
According to the agency, Trump’s transition fundraising group – Trump for America Inc – amassed $6,513,947.93 between the election day and Feb. 14. Donors were companies, advocacy groups, and individuals. Under the U.S. law, a single entity can make a $5,000 maximum donation to a president’s transition efforts. Transition is partially funded by the U.S. government.
The report revealed many of Trump’s Cabinet picks were either donors or their relatives. For instance, Linda McMahon made a hefty donation in July, when Trump wasn’t even nominated by the RNC, but she was named chief of the Small Business Administration five months later.
Trump’s pick for commerce Wilbur Ross made a donation on Oct. 31. A month later, his nomination was announced and he is now expected to be confirmed. Other donors threw in their contributions after the election.
The DeVos family, made 10 donations of $5,000 each in mid-December. Betsy DeVos, who now serves as the head of the Education Department, was nominated on Nov. 23.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s brother Alan Mnuchin donated $5,000 in early December, but Steve did not donate. Later in the month, Exxon Mobile, whose chief executive was now-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, made a $5,000 donation. The nomination of Tillerson, who did not give money to the transition, was announced on Dec. 13, while Mnuchin’s nomination was unveiled Nov. 30.
Andrew Puzder, a fast food boss who was picked to lead the Labor Department, donated $5,000 in late November. He had to renounce the position this month after several scandals surfaced in the media. Trump’s transition announced Puzder’s nomination on Dec. 8.
It is unclear whether Trump or his close aides knew about the donations. The press managed to reach DeVos’ personal spokesperson, Greg McNeilly, and asked him whether his boss had any concerns about the fairness of a donation. McNeilly replied there were “no concerns whatsoever.” The U.S. Education department hasn’t replied to a request for comment.
The White House wouldn’t tell either whether Trump knew about the donations. The CNN report shows that most donations came after the election. In other words, $5.5 million were donated after Trump’s shocking victory. Before the election, he managed to raise just $1.05 million, while Clinton raised $1 million more.
About $663,000 in donation were made before the scandal around the hot mic showing Trump bragging about sexually assaulting women. A week following the scandal there were no donations, but on Oct. 11 they resumed, records show.
One day after the election day, an advocacy group lobbying on behalf the financial services industry, Financial Services Roundtable, donated $5,000. A few days later similar donations started pouring from Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, American Coalition Clean Coal Electricity, Independent Community Bankers of America, and National Association of Wholesaler-Distributers.
Image Source: NBC