SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 17 May 2021, Monday | النسخة العربية

Trump refunds $122 Mln in donations amid rash of fraud complaints

The Trump campaign reportedly became more aggressive in September, after it had been out-raised by Biden’s campaign by more than $150 million in August.

Donald Trump’s operation has paid back $122.7 mln in donations amid a massive number of people demanded a refund.

The sum exceeds Joe Biden’s refunds, with Trump refunding 10.7 percent of the money it raised on WinRed, the conservative fundraising site processing these payments, while Biden operation’s refund rate on ActBlue, the Democratic online donation-processing platform, was 2.2 percent.

A practice of recurring donations, where many Trump supporters unwittingly donated more than they’d initially planned, has contributed to the large number of refunds, The New York Times reports.

The online donors subscribed for recurring monthly donations, recurring weekly donations, double donations, or even one-time surprise donations using pre-checked boxes, and the supporters had to opt-out in order to make just a simple donation, the magazine said.

One of the supporters, Stacy Blatt, donated $500 last September, but was charged another $500 the next day, and then $500 each week until October, when his bank account had been depleted and frozen, the NYT says. Another supporter found out that their $990 donation had been multiplied to $8,000.

Banks and a major credit card company told the magazine that processing fraud claims against WinRed had started to account for a significant percentage of their daily workload, taking as much as 1 to 3 percent of their capacity at peak.

Spokesman for Mr. Trump Jason Miller said, however, that internal records showed that a mere 0.87 percent of its WinRed transactions had been subject to formal credit card disputes.

“The fact we had a dispute rate of less than 1 percent of total donations despite raising more grass-roots money than any campaign in history is remarkable,” he told the outlet.

“Our campaign was built by the hardworking men and women of America,” he said, “and cherishing their investments was paramount to anything else we did”.

WinRed said it was adopting the pre-checked box tactics that the Democratic platform ActBlue had deployed years ago. ActBlue stated that it had begun to phase out pre-checked boxes “unless groups were explicitly asking for recurring contributions”.

Some prominent Democratic groups, however, including both congressional campaign committees, continue to pre-check recurring boxes, the NYT says.

In December last year, the Washington Post reported that Trump’s political operation had raised more than $170 million since Election Day. Later, an investigation by the NYT said that the former President had raised the sum since Election Day and that 75% of every contribution went to his new political action committee Save America.