With the rise of Donald Trump in the Republican presidential race, there are some who hope to capitalize personally on his run. That includes Citizens for Trump, an organization that claims to be raising money for his candidacy and election, but has no visible ties to Trump himself, or his campaign. It begs the question: who is getting the money?
It’s not unusual for some political groups to use a politician’s face and name to raise money, but most do so with the person’s permission. However, some groups use the name and face of a politician under the “fair use” doctrine to raise money for their political group, even if the money raised does not directly benefit the politician.
That appears to be the case with Citizens for Trump. With a slick looking website, Citizens for Trump is looking for people willing to pledge their vote to Trump and make donations to their group. However, they appear to need an editor, as their text is riddled with grammatical mistakes: your first clue this isn’t an official Trump organization. This excerpt is from their Facebook page, with mistakes left intact:
After 100 years of professional politician’s leading our nation and after 7 years of near total amateur leadership, America finds herself in a very precarious position today.
Most if not all of our nations economist are predicting nothing short of catastrophic economic collapse in the next couple of years if we don’t radically change direction almost immediately. It is fact that when Barack Obama leaves the White House, we will be in excess of $20 Trillion in debt. According to most economist; once we hit $24 Trillion (which will happen at current projections in the 2nd year of the next presidency), America will be facing total economic collapse.
Over the past 10 years; America has lost some 179,000 corporations which have relocated overseas and Mexico. This has cost our nation millions of jobs. Even traditional American corporations such as Ford Motor Company have relocated many facilities south of the Border.
Citizens for Trump asks for donations, but does not specify what those donations will fund. Too often, organizations like this collect donations but spend little to actually assist the candidate, choosing instead to fund the salaries of the organizers.
Trump himself has made it clear that he has no plans to be held loyal to major donors or PACs, and instead has said he has plenty of money to mount a campaign. He has begun taking direct donations to his campaign, but has not endorsed or taken money from any outside group.
So who runs Citizens for Trump? The website and Facebook page do not name names, but Citizens for Trump is operated by Patriotic Warriors, who in turn is operated by Patriotic Network, both of which are operated by conservative activist Tim Selanty.
Selanty was one of the founders of Tea Party Community, the Facebook clone for Tea Party members. He does not have any visible connection to Trump or his campaign, so who is getting paid (and for what work) with donations to Citizens for Trump is unknown. We asked Selanty to clarify Citizens for Trump’s connection to the Trump campaign, but Selanty has not yet responded to our inquiry. He has, however, been promoting the group across a number of conservative Facebook groups.
We asked the Trump campaign if they are affiliated with (or even aware of) Citizens for Trump. The campaign has yet to respond.