With the second impeachment trial of Donald Trump currently underway, the former president’s role in inciting his supporters to storm the Capitol Complex last month has once again taken center stage. But Trump’s massive political apparatus also played a prominent role in planning, staging, and most importantly, funding the Jan. 6 “Stop the Steal” rally that immediately preceded the riots and resulted in the deaths of five people, including four Trump supporters and a Capitol police officer.
According to a Wednesday report from the Center for Responsive Politics, the nonprofit group identified payments in recent filings with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) showing that several people responsible for organizing the rally received large sums of money from the Trump campaign.
“OpenSecrets unearthed more than $3.5 million in direct payments from Trump’s 2020 campaign, along with its joint fundraising committees, to people and firms involved in the Washington, D.C. demonstration before a violent mob stormed the U.S. Capitol,” the report stated.
Per the report, the filings revealed that at least three people whose names appeared on permit records for the rally were on the payroll of the Trump campaign through Nov. 30, 2020.
“The Trump campaign paid Event Strategies Inc., a firm named in a permit for the rally that also employed two individuals involved in the demonstration, as recently as Dec. 15, just three weeks before the attacks on the U.S. Capitol,” the report stated, citing to the most recent FEC filings which cover spending through the end of 2020.
More disturbingly, the $3.5 million figure may only scratch the surface of what Trump’s operation spent to help organize the demonstration.
“That’s because the campaign used an opaque payment scheme that concealed details of hundreds of millions of dollars in spending by routing payments through shell companies where the ultimate payee is hidden,” the report stated. “Trump’s 2020 campaign and joint fundraising committee, the Trump Make America Great Again Committee, spent more than $771 million through American Made Media Consultants LLC, according to new data analyzed by OpenSecrets. The secretive limited-liability company was created by campaign aides and members of Trump’s inner circle to act as a ‘clearinghouse’ to pay vendors, concealing the campaign’s transactions with those vendors.”
Following the Capitol riots, Trump’s re-election campaign said it “did not organize, operate or finance the event,” and that any former employees who may have taken part in the rally “did not do so at the direction of the Trump campaign.”
But according to the Associated Press, that was not the case.
“At least one was working for the Trump campaign this month,” the AP reported in January. “Megan Powers was listed as one of two operations managers for the Jan. 6 event, and her LinkedIn profile says she was the Trump campaign’s director of operations into January 2021.”
Caroline Wren, a GOP fundraiser who was previously paid $20,000 a month by the Trump campaign, and Maggie Mulvaney, the niece of former Trump chief of staff Mick Mulvaney who worked as the director of finance operations for the campaign, were also listed on permits for the Jan. 6 rally, per the AP.
[Image via Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images]
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