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Monday, December 09, 2019

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Political operations tied to former President Trump and the Republican Party paid millions to the organizers of the January 6, 2021, rally that preceded the now-infamous assault on the Capitol to thwart the certification of Joe Biden’s victory, according to Open Secrets.

A non-partisan and non-profit group tracking money in U.S. politics, Open Secrets found that Trump’s political operation and other GOP committees have paid over $12.6 million to the January 6 rally’s organizers since the start of the 2020 election cycle.

The “full extent” of the aforementioned payments remains a mystery, said Open Secrets, because the Trump campaign and a horde of GOP groups funneled payments through American Made Media Consultants LLC, a vendor created by the Trump campaign to “act as a clearinghouse for its spending."

The Trump campaign has routed over $771 million through the vendor thus far, and the details of these transactions — including recipients’ identities and how much they received — remain hidden.

The politically divided Federal Election Commission couldn’t decide on whether to look into allegations that the former president’s campaign funneled money through American Made Media Consultants LLC so that it could hide key details of its spending in the 2020 elections.

During the second Capitol attack hearing, Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), a member of the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 insurrection, blasted the Trump campaign, saying it “misled donors as to where their funds would go and what they would be used for.”

The campaign finance watchdog found several groups in Trump’s political operations that have paid organizers of the January 6 rally, including the Save America PAC that Trump created after the 2020 elections, which, according to the New York Times, “has become the primary hub of his ongoing political operations.”

Intricate Money-Funneling Operation

Political groups linked to Trump and his campaign have paid $6.9 million to the firm Event Strategies since election day 2020 — $4.5 million of which was paid in the first four months of 2022. Event Strategies obtained the permit for Trump’s January 6 rally at Eclipse Park in Washington, D.C., USA Today reported.

At the helm of Event Strategies are Trump campaign aides Tim Unes and Justin Caporale. Both aides were listed on permit records as stage and production managers for Trump’s January 6 rally.

According to the Open Secrets report, Event Strategies received $3.2 million for its “political works” in 2022 from Save America PAC and Make America Great Again, Again! Inc., both of which are part of Trump’s political operations.

Event Strategies has also been paid by the Trump campaign; the Republican National Committee; America First Works, a dark money group aligned with Trump; and Republican party committees.

Altogether, Open Secrets said, groups linked to Trump and the GOP doled out $12. 6 million to Event Strategies since the start of the 2016 elections.

Trump’s operations also funneled millions into BlueBonnet Fundraising, a firm founded by Caroline Wren, a top fundraiser for the Trump campaign. Wren was listed as a “VIP Advisor” on the permit issued for the January 6 rally at Eclipse Park.

Wren “boasted” of having raised $3 million to support Trump’s January 6 rally. She also “parked” unspecified amounts of money at several Republican-tied groups to “add a layer of confidentiality for the donor,” according to a report by ProPublica last October.

Wren has since denied the allegations of wrongdoing. An attorney for Wren told the Washington Post that Wren “in her role as an event planner, assisted many others in providing and arranging for a professionally produced and completely peaceful event at the White House Ellipse with hundreds of thousands of Americans who were in D.C. to lawfully exercise their first amendment rights.”

Election Defense Fund

On Monday, the select committee, in its second of a series of public hearings, revealed that Trump and his team had conned supporters to the tune of $250 million on the false premise of combatting election fraud.

Amanda Wick, senior investigative counsel for the committee, said Trump had been “so successful” in his scam that “nearly $100 million in the first week after the election.”

The Election Defense Fund didn’t exist, the select committee said, and the pool of donations was shared among a group of individuals and business entities tied to Trump, including the Save America PAC and, of course, Event Strategies.

Lofgren hit at Trump and his allies for the heist, saying, “So not only was there the big lie, there was the big rip-off. Donors deserve to know where their funds are really going."

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