Trump Presses Republicans for Compensation When Using His Likeness

Former President Donald Trump awaits the start of proceedings during jury selection at Manhattan criminal court, Thursday. (Brendan McDermid/Pool Photo via AP)

WASHINGTON (Bloomberg News/TNS) — Donald Trump’s presidential campaign wants other Republicans to pay up, if they use the former president’s name, image or likeness in any fundraising solicitations, according to a new campaign memo obtained by Bloomberg News. 

Signed by co-campaign managers Susie Wiles and Chris LaCivita, the memo asks that all candidates and committees who use Trump in their fundraising appeals give a minimum of 5% of the money they earn to Trump’s political operation. The letter says giving more than 5% is “seen favorably” and reported to the “highest levels of leadership” at both the Republican National Committee and Trump’s campaign. 

The memo discourages candidates from speaking on behalf of Trump, creating memberships or clubs not authorized by the campaign, impersonating Trump or using a “one-click donation” feature when mentioning the former president. It also asks candidates to not use any mention of the president’s family without consent.

The memo, dated April 15, was sent to Republican vendors and was first reported by Politico.

It’s not unusual for well-known candidates with large donor lists, called “house files,” to fundraise via text or email for politicians with smaller followings, splitting the donations. The practice, called tandem fundraising, can help challengers and down-ballot candidates to tap into national donor networks and boost their name recognition.

The request comes as the Trump campaign and RNC are trying to catch up to President Joe Biden’s fundraising advantage. Though Trump held a successful fundraiser in Palm Beach at a private home in early April that earned more than $50 million, he and his team have struggled to close the gap with Biden. 

Many longtime GOP billionaires remain undecided on supporting Trump — and deep-pocketed Wall Street financiers have yet to coalesce around his candidacy, while Biden is easily drawing money from Wall Street, Hollywood and the tech sector.

The Trump campaign is turning to novel strategies to raise money outside of traditional fundraisers — like taking a cut from using Trump’s image or name, selling sneakers to supporters and continuing to lean on small-dollar donors energized by Trump’s indictments and legal troubles.

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