How the ‘Presidential Coalition’ Has Capitalized on its Leader’s Ties to the President and Misled Donors
Despite what the Presidential Coalition has told donors, only 3% of the group’s reported spending went to direct political activity in 2017-2018, according to CLC report
WASHINGTON - After Donald Trump was elected President in 2016, his Deputy Campaign Manager David Bossie urged the President’s supporters to donate to an organization called The Presidential Coalition. Capitalizing on Bossie’s ties to the President, the group consistently told supporters that it would use their money to bolster state and local candidates that support the Trump agenda. These appeals appear to have worked: the group enjoyed a dramatic rise in fundraising after Trump’s victory – going from under $1 million in 2016, to $5 million in 2017 and $13 million in 2018.
But despite telling donors that it would support conservative candidates with the funds raised, only three percent of The Presidential Coalition’s 2017 and 2018 spending went towards the direct political activity, according to a CLC research report: [“Can I Count on You?” How the Presidential Coalition Has Capitalized on its Leader’s Ties to the President and Mislead Donors] released today in collaboration with Axios.
Instead, the group directed the vast majority of the funds raised towards more fundraising and administrative costs, including salary payments to Bossie. CLC’s analysis shows that The Presidential Coalition is fundraising by capitalizing on Bossie’s ties to President Trump and collecting the majority of its funds from retired and small-dollar donors.
“Despite telling donors that it would support conservative state and local candidates, The Presidential Coalition spent only a meager proportion of the funds raised on direct political activity,” said Maggie Christ, researcher at CLC. “The Presidential Coalition is not the only political group that misrepresents itself in fundraising appeals, but what sets the Presidential Coalition apart is that it explicitly, and highly successfully, capitalizes on its leader’s ties to the President of the United States.”
“Not only are voters being misled about how their donations will be used, but their funds are being diverted away from more effective political organizations or campaigns that they might otherwise support,” said Brendan Fischer, director, federal reform at CLC. “The gap between what The Presidential Coalition claims to be raising money for and what it is actually spending it on is notable on its own, but the fact that their donations are largely coming from small donors and seniors make these activities even more concerning. Seniors are particularly vulnerable to misleading fundraising appeals, and donors of average means may not have the resources or connections to ensure that their donations are being used effectively.”