It’s been a bewildering year for anyone following the soap opera that is Donald Trump’s fundraising groups. The fallout from a sexual assault scandal led to the demise of one PAC and the rise of another in its place, with a confusing march of new names—all a variation on the MAGA theme.
But when it comes to the latest fundraising numbers, fans of this show are in luck: The cast of characters is all too familiar. From Donald Trump Jr.’s fiance to top White House officials to the requisite Trump property tithes, it’s all there, right down to the Jan. 6 organizer now on the monthly MAGA dole.
Topline numbers from campaign finance filings submitted Monday show that the only current Trump-endorsed super PAC—the improbably titled “Make America Great Again, Again! Inc“—ended the year with about $9.5 million in the bank.
While the super PAC can’t directly contribute to Trump’s official committees or coordinate with him, it can spend that money to support and promote his political agenda—including backing a potential presidential bid, as well as other candidates he may endorse.
About half of the group’s total was raised after the aforementioned scandal. That was in early October, when longtime Trump aide Corey Lewandowski was unceremoniously fired, following allegations that he sexually assaulted a big donor at a late-September fundraiser.
Lewandowski’s ouster prompted a shakeup, and the torch was passed from his super PAC—Make America Great Again Action—to the newly minted MAGAA! When the power shifted, so did the money, with Lewandowski’s outfit transferring $5,725,000 to the new group within days.
But the old group wasn’t bled dry; it still holds about $754,000, and it’s unclear what will become of that cash.
The fundraising was about on par with the group’s performance earlier in the year. Super PACs can accept donations in unlimited amounts, even from companies, so wealthy donors flock to these vehicles—such as former Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), the wife of the founder of Jimmy John’s, execs at two major packaging companies, and the chair of the Fanjul sugar crystal empire.
But there are fresh faces, as well: One of the two top donations—$500,000—came from a company called ML Organization LLC. While business filings don’t tie the group to anyone, the donor address is connected to Bill Pulte, Trump twitter clout-chaser and grandson of the founder of Pulte Homes. It’s apparently his first donation, per FEC filings.
The spending side was tried and true Trumpism.
Perhaps the most notable presence on the payroll is a Jan. 6 organizer.
Three monthly super PAC payments totaling $16,000 went out to Cassidy Kofoed, the 24-year-old daughter of California entrepreneur Richard Kofoed. ProPublica reported in November that Cassidy’s name appeared on Jan. 6 planning documents, and that she worked on event preparations with Caroline Wren—a major GOP fundraiser and friend of Donald Trump Jr.’s fiance, Kim Guilfoyle. Richard Kofoed had chartered the plane that carried Guilfoyle to D.C. for the Jan. 6 event, according to the report.
Guilfoyle—the former fundraising chair for Trump Victory—also appears to have entered the revolving door as Lewandowski was flung out. The super PAC cut two checks worth a total $140,000 to KGT Global Consulting LLC, a Florida-based entity created in February which corporate filings tie to one Anthony Guilfoyle.
Lewandowski disappears from expenses after the incident—but not before cashing a handsome $83,000 check just a few weeks earlier. But even that paycheck wouldn’t have covered the more than $90,000 in legal fees the PAC paid out in the days after the alleged assault.
Other legal fees went out to Elections LLC, a firm co-founded by key Trump 2020 campaign staffer Justin Clark.
Another familiar name was Lewandowski’s replacement at the top: former Florida attorney general Pam Bondi—a MAGAland fixture who also holds a top job at the Trump-aligned America First Policy Institute dark money group. Bondi pocketed more than $150,000 from the super PAC over the last four months of the year.
Another AFPI staffer appears to be pulling double duty—Trump’s former acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker, now co-chair of the AFPI Center for Law and Justice, took home $7,880 at the end of December. And another former acting official—director of national intelligence Ric Grennell—got a similar sized MAGAA! paycheck the same day.
But while the payees are familiar, the payment structure is new—and unusual.
The super PAC’s filing reveals that all of the above names, with the exception of Guilfoyle, were getting paid via a previously unreported nonprofit, called Make America Great Again Policies.
The group was created by Lewandowski last June, and it claims to have a “cost-sharing” arrangement with the super PAC. The reason for the layered payment structure is not immediately clear.
And the final throwback—Trump himself got a cut.
Federal law prohibits candidates from coordinating with super PACs, but Trump has no compunctions about pushing that line, going so far as to endorse MAGAA! as the only “official” Trump super PAC.
And in Trump style, the super PAC held an event in December at Trump International Golf Club in Palm Beach, shelling out more than $10,000, with an extra $900 going to the Trump National Transportation Service. The December event put a cap on a tumultuous fundraising year that began at Trump’s Bedminster, NJ, club.