Why the Political Grift Won’t Stop

Not long after Letitia James, New York Attorney General, announced that she had filed a $250 million fraud case against Trump Organization. toy cannon brigadeThey climbed into their Aerons and began to make proclamations about how the walls surrounding the 45th president were closing in.

Norman Ornstein of American Enterprise Institute, emeritus scholar and D.C. thinktank leader: “The Noose on Trump is tightening” exulted: “Decades ending in corruption and grifting. Mueller-investigation attorney turned MSNBC contributor Andrew Weissmann secondedThe thought is: “That sucking sound that you hear” [the Trump Organization]Circulating the drain

This is the perennial problem for Resistance Twitter users that Donald Trump’s decade-long career of snake-oil salesman hasn’t been enough to endanger his political ambitions. Michael Beschloss, historian and Biden-whisperer said that Donald Trump would have been guilty of these crimes for many decades. saidMSNBC asked, “How is it that his political system allowed him? Only the rubes would have known they were being cheated!

The imputation of false consciousness, and the almost touchingly naïve hope that today’s new outrage will be the one to finally break the spell, lacks a crucial piece of analytical self-awareness. Trump’s critics have every right to be critical of Trump’s ex-presidential grift. They fail to see the universality of the American political system as well as human nature when it comes down to those willing to pay money or affection to obvious crooks, as long as they have the right enemies. The grift is happening across the street, yes—but it’s also coming from inside the house.

Let’s take Letitia James. The ink wasn’t yet dry on her quarter-billion-dollar civil lawsuit when the ambitious prosecutor—who once tried running for New York governor for a hot minute—sent out a sleazy fundraising email bragging, “Guess who’s in the headlines again?”

“Once more, powerful and corrupt people have taken over headlines, friend,” continued the appeal, possibly referring to James’ contentious role in the pursuit of former Governor. Andrew Cuomo out of office by investigating allegations of sexual harassment. But I am not surprised. “But I’m not surprised. You work tirelessly to take me down.” (Self-impressed italics in Original.

Tish’s monetisation of her apparently impartial justice-seeking skills was, as with so much political excreta and it was illegal, unconstitutional, and almost inevitable. James is an elected attorney general. She is also a career politician from a deep blue state and city. Her base loves the possibility of finally harpooning that orange whale.

Fervent consumer-side political passion—the more negative, the better—is the raw material of huckster fortunes: in politics, in media, in publishing, in advertising, in think-tanking, in lobbying, in consulting. The most dangerous of all is headline-chasing nonprofits that are attached to celebrities or to well-known causes (or both).

Steve Bannon’s illegal We Build the Wall campaign was a perfect example. After Trump and Congress were at a tense impasse about paying for Trump’s campaign promises, Brian Kolfage (Iraq War veteran) created a GoFundMe initiative to raise $9 million. Kris Kobach and Bannon quickly joined the effort. By 2020, the group—which pledged to spend 100 percent of its donations on construction—had raised $25 million, paid themselves very handsomely, and built very little border fencing.

Kolfage and another partner pled guilty on April 20, 22 to fraud, among other charges. (“I knowingly and willfully conspired to unlawfully receive money from the donations…I knew what I was doing was wrong and a crime,” Kolfage told the presiding judge.) In June, a trial for a third partner resulted in a hung juror. Bannon was initially exempted from federal prosecution by a Trump pre-emptive, last-minute pardon. However, the New York State Indictment of Bannon on charges of conspiracy, fraud and money laundering took place earlier in June. Said politician Letitia James at the corresponding press conference: “Regular, everyday Americans play by these rules, and yet too often powerful political interests, they ignore these rules….They think they are above the law, and the most egregious of them take advantage.”

Federal judge puzzled that donors from grassroots kept sending money for the border wall project even after August 2020’s indictment. Even though Bannon was literally arrested aboard a yacht worth $35 million, his luster at MAGA World is still intact. The New York TimesThe state prosecution coverage suggested that Trumpy’s lucrative fundraising industry and the lack of consequences for mismanagement were unique to Trumpy.

Capitalizing on a president’s popularity to make or raise money is nothing new—nor partisan. The same goes for accusations of political moneymaking. However, with several initiatives launched by Trump supporters, prosecutors said that donors were not used for their supposed purposes and that they were instead used to benefit the organizers.

A federal grand jury is investigating the formation, fund-raising and spending of a political action committee created by Mr. Trump, which raised millions of dollars to support his efforts to contest the results of the 2020 election.

Earlier this year, the attorney general in Washington, D.C., said Mr. Trump’s inaugural committee and business would pay $750,000 to resolve a lawsuit claiming the Trump Organization misused nonprofit funds intended for the 2017 inauguration. Originally filed in 2020. The suit claimed the inaugural organizers had misused the funds raised by donors for the purpose of enriching the Trump family.

In at least one other case, donors themselves have cried foul—as in the operation set up by Mr. Trump’s 2020 election campaign, in which supporters unknowingly opted into making recurring online donations.

It is possible that Trump and his superior qualities have made Trump and co more brazen than ever before. However, there is an ideological market everywhere people are willing to add their political opinions by hitting the “Donate” button.

No political phrase had more power or ubiquity than “Black Lives Matter” in the 2020 racially charged years. The killing of George Floyd, and all the related racial, policing, issues, could be evoked in anger by people who marched in demonstrations or placed signs in front of their homes and windows. They also had the option to donate online to organizations that have the slogan.

It was so that Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, (BLMGNF), raised a stunning $90,000,000 in 2020. It was quickly used by its leaders to buy items like a hidden $6 million house in Hollywood Hills. Now, the leaders are in turmoil over gross mismanagement allegations.

Black Lives Matter Grassroots sued Shalomyah bowers, a subsidiary of BLMGNF for allegedly “siphoning $10 million” of donations in order to set up his “personal piggybank,” which, through fiduciary negligence, exposed the whole organization to multiple federal and state tax investigations.

The lawsuit claims that the plaintiff “reports the case of an administrator who was rogue and who became a usurper.” He was employed to solicit donations from the Black Lives Matter movement and to account for the expenditures. This caused irreparable damage to BLM within 18 months.

It is not difficult to imagine that some donors are annoyed at the fact their donations have helped pay for the luxurious lifestyles and other benefits of certain insiders. BLMGNF proved to be the best and easiest place for expression of giving during a very specific time and emotion. Not necessarily criminal justice reforms or the finalization of the border wall project, although that would be a good outcome, the end result was in the act itself of giving.

Kat Rosenfield in perceptive (and perhaps cynical) mode UnherdEssay this May. Reflected on the “utter curiosity” of wealthy progressive BLM donors regarding how their money was mispent. Concluded: “But ofcourse, there wasn’t any outrage. The donations were an indulgence: they were a tax-deductible expense that allowed you to continue your luxurious lifestyle. It did not matter whether the money actually helped. “Give and you will be remembered as having given,” was the point.

The cookie jar is a magnet for political hucksters who are caught with their faces in it. They also benefit from donor indifference and the willingness of the political tribeists to believe any allegations of misconduct by their side is proof of more malfeasance by The Man.

“They won’t shut me up. Steve Bannon, who was being indicted earlier this month, said that they would have to “kill me first.” And the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation responded to this month’s lawsuit by insisting that it has been “consistent and truthful—even in the face of right wing media attacks that have created doubt and distrust among the Black communities we aim to protect and support,” It added: “We will not be quiet or idle while lies are spread about our work and our integrity….[W]Hite supremacy wins when leaders of movement take the public approach to ‘calling out’ comrades rather than ‘calling in’.

The world’s conspiracy theory won’t do you any good in court. If Donald Trump was a learner, that’s something he would have realized a while back. In a moment of populist, deep, negative political polarization the court of public opinion still believes that the man can be paid for his legal costs from now on. This will keep Trump in the good graces and support of the Republican electorate.

Trump’s tormentors have the exact same situation, but in different ways.

The Lincoln Project, that group of current and former GOP political consultants and dirty tricksters turned #NeverTrump troll artists, keeps raking in the lefty bucks no matter how many sexual harassment scandals, fake-white-supremacist stuntsThe organization also racks up dodgy payments to its founders. The Project released this advertisement in one of the episodes that will continue the stupid, long moment in which we are.

The group said that every dollar sent to him was used for his business empire and extravagant lifestyle. It has received a lot of media attention. The judge Washington PostGlenn Kessler is fact-checker. [that] statement.”

But it doesn’t matter. Trump threatened to sue the Lincoln Project, Trump warned of suing, and there is no doubt that both sides will have plenty money to cover legal costs and to maintain their lives. Friends, the fight for democracy is too vital to be left behind. Your donations are urgently needed.