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Trump campaign expecting to raise $43 million at high-dollar Florida fundraiser

NEW YORK (AP) — Donald Trump’s campaign is expecting to raise more than $40 million on Saturday when major donors gather for his biggest fundraiser yet.

The event at the Palm Beach, Florida, home of billionaire investor John Paulson is expected to bring in $43 million for the former president’s third run at the White House, according to Paulson.

The high-dollar event is expected to include about 100 guests, including more than a few billionaires, and top a new single-event fundraising record set by President Joe Biden, who raised $26 million recently at a gathering with former Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

“The response to our fundraising efforts has been overwhelming, and we’ve raised over $43 million so far,” Paulson, a hedge fund manager, said in a statement. “There is massive support amongst a broad spectrum of donors.”

The event, billed as the “Inaugural Leadership Dinner,” sends a signal of a resurgence of Trump and the Republican Party’s fundraising, which has struggled to catch up to Biden and the Democrats.

Trump and the GOP announced earlier in the week that they raised more than $65.6 million in March and closed out the month with $93.1 million. Biden and the Democrats have not yet released their March numbers but their political operation said they brought in $53 million in February and closed that month with $155 million cash on hand.

Trump initially struggled to attract big donors in particular when he launched his campaign and some lined up to support the other Republicans who challenged him in the presidential primary. But as Trump racked up easy wins, leveled the field and became the party’s presumptive nominee, the GOP has solidified behind him.

Contributions to the event will go toward the Trump 47 Committee, according to the invitation, a joint fundraising agreement with the Republican National Committee, state Republican parties and Save America, a political action committee that pays the bulk of Trump’s legal bills. In an unusual arrangement, the fundraising agreement directs donations to first pay the maximum allowed under law to his campaign and Save America before the RNC or state parties get a cut.

Donors who give the suggested $814,600 per person or $250,000 per person will only have $5,000 of their donation go to Save America, sending hundreds of thousands of dollars to the cash-strapped RNC.

As Trump prepared in March to install a new handpicked leadership team at the RNC, including his daughter-in-law Lara Trump, some members of the RNC worried that the committee’s money would go toward Trump’s sizable legal fees as he fights a number of court cases, including four criminal cases.

The fundraising arrangement doesn’t direct RNC funds to Trump’s legal bills. But when checks of any amount are written to the combined campaign, the campaign and Save America get paid first by default.

Co-chairs of the fundraiser include Robert Bigelow, a Las Vegas-based businessman who had supported Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ presidential campaign; New York grocery billionaire John Catsimatidis; Linda McMahon, the former World Wrestling Entertainment executive and head of the Small Business Administration while Trump was president; casino mogul Steve Wynn; and former Georgia Sen. Kelly Loeffler, according to the invitation.

Guests are asked to contribute $814,600 per person as a “chairman” contributor, which comes with seating at Trump’s table, or $250,000 per person as a “host committee” contributor. Both options come with a photo opportunity and a personalized copy of Trump’s coffee table book featuring photographs from his administration, ”Our Journey Together.”

Three of Trump’s former rivals for the GOP nomination — South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum and biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy — are all slated to appear as “special guests.”

Michelle L. Price, The Associated Press


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