Trump Wants Money From Candidates Who Use His Name to Fundraise

Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The Donald Trump campaign is asking for political candidates who want to use his name, image, and likeness in fundraising pushes to pony up, kicking back at least 5 percent of any money raised as a result, according to a letter sent this week to Republican vendors.

“Beginning tomorrow, we ask that all candidates and committees who choose to use President Trump’s name, image, and likeness split a minimum of 5% of all fundraising solicitations to Trump National Committee JFC,” reads the letter, dated Monday and signed by co-campaign managers Susie Wiles and Chris LaCivitae. “This includes but is not limited to sending to the house file, prospecting vendors, and advertising.

“Any split that is higher than 5% will be seen favorably by the RNC and President Trump’s campaign and is routinely reported to the highest levels of leadership within both organizations,” they promised.

The letter, reported by Politico, also tightens the belt on messaging aligned with the Trump name, telling candidates to avoid “speaking on behalf of” Trump. An example, helpfully supplied by the letter, might be saying “President Trump needs you”—a no-go because only Trump and his team “are allowed to speak on his behalf or any other views he might personally hold.”

The letter also issued a moratorium on “questioning the readers’ support of President Trump or tying their support to a financial contribution,” “creating memberships, clubs, or rewards that are not authorized by the campaign” (“Trump Gold Club”), and “impersonating President Trump or his campaign.”

“It is important to protect small dollar donors from scammers that use the president’s name and likeness,” said Danielle Alvarez, a Trump campaign spokeswoman.

The letter comes as the Trump campaign struggles to keep pace with President Joe Biden’s, with the former reporting that it had raised $93 million alongside the Republican Party in the first quarter of 2024, less than half of Biden and his allies’ $192 million in cash. (The figures tabulate donations raised before the end of March, and do not include several recent events held by big-money donors, including an April 6 fundraiser held by hedge fund tycoon John Paulson that netted $50 million for the Trump campaign, according to The Financial Times.)

The Monday letter warned vendors that its guidelines were by no means exhaustive, and asked them to use their “best judgment.” Any vendors who flaunt the directives repeatedly run the risk of losing their business relationship with the Trump campaign.

It is not the first time Trump has raised his hackles over the use of his brand. In 2021, he sent cease and desist letters to Republican campaign committees, including the Republican National Committee, over the issue, reportedly “furious that his name has been bandied about by organizations that help Republicans who voted to impeach him.”

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