Trump’s maneuvers to finance his campaign – L’Express

Trumps maneuvers to finance his campaign – LExpress

In April, Donald Trump hosted a dinner at Mar-a-Lago with around twenty oil company bosses. One complained about restrictions imposed on the industry by the Biden administration. According to Washington Post who got the scoop, the ex-president replied: “You are rich enough to raise a billion dollars and send me back to the White House.” In exchange, he promised to eliminate all kinds of environmental regulations, to cancel “from the first day” of his return to power the freezing of new liquefied natural gas export terminals, to allocate more drilling permits in the Gulf of Mexico…

It’s a good deal, he insisted. In addition to the deregulations that would make their lives easier, his re-election would allow them to save money. Because the tax cuts that he implemented at the start of his presidency expire in 2025. However, his successor Joe Biden does not intend to maintain them for the highest incomes if he is re-elected. The latter also wants to eliminate the tax breaks that oil companies benefit from, among others.

“Be generous, please”

At a fundraising gala hosted by three oil and gas industry bosses in Houston, Texas, Donald Trump continued to assert that he would abolish all unnecessary regulations. He also suggested he could push the Federal Trade Commission to speed up the approval process for mergers and acquisitions. “Be generous, please,” he told the guests.

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The ex-president is not the first to court big donors. New tenants of the Oval Office often reward their donors by appointing them to an ambassadorial position in a popular location. “In general, the deal is implicit and therefore perfectly legal,” observes Richard Painter, professor of law at the University of Minnesota and former head of ethics issues in the Bush administration. “But Trump clearly says: ‘Give me money and I’ll do what you want’. It’s very close to soliciting a bribe.”

During his two previous campaigns, the former president, who promised to clean “the backwater” of Washington of his lobbies, was reluctant to cajole donors in this way. But this time, he needs new money to pay his enormous legal fees and catch up financially with Joe Biden’s campaign. In recent months, the author of The Art of the Deal – his bestseller from the 1980s – goes out of his way to catch up with big names from Wall Street, real estate and, of course, energy by, for example, offering a one-on-one lunch for the modest sum of… 25 million dollars. At his Florida home in Mar-a-Lago in May, in front of 400 people who had paid at least $40,000 each, he improvised an auction: “If you donate a million dollars right now to the Republican Party… I’ll let you come and speak on stage.” At least two individuals took out their checkbooks.

“There is little chance that he will be prosecuted”

They are not the only ones. The Republican candidate raised a colossal sum of $141 million after his conviction in New York on May 30. A number of big Republican donors, who have so far remained on the sidelines, have put aside their reluctance and are funding it again. Among them, Kelcy Warren, the CEO of Energy Transfer Partners, who had supported Ron De Santis, his rival in the primaries, Steve Schwarzman the founder of the investment fund Blackstone who had called for “a new generation of leaders”. As for Elon Musk, although he says he will not finance the campaign, he regularly speaks with the former president and organizes anti-Biden dinners.

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The announcement that Mar-a-Lago would offer good processes to the oil industry attracted a lot of criticism. “Trump’s plans for our planet are simple: sell it to the highest bidder,” said Alex Glass, communications director for the Climate Power group. “Despite what Donald Trump thinks, America is not for sale to billionaires, oil company bosses or even Elon Musk,” added Joe Biden’s spokesperson. Senate Democrats have launched an investigation to determine whether the former president violated campaign finance law. But proving the existence of a give and take is very difficult. “There is therefore little chance that he will be prosecuted,” concludes Richard Painter.