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Trump fundraising record not all it appears

WAUKESHA, Wis. — Donald Trump’s campaign was desperate to change the subject after his shaky debate performance on Monday, and it found just the story to do it — a record fundraising surge that Trump says was powered by small donors, proving he actually got a boost from the debate.

But a closer examination of the claims around Trump’s fundraising surge — which the campaign says yielded $18 million in the 24 hours after the debate through online donations and a big-donor phone bank — suggests the haul might not be quite as significant to Trump as he and his campaign have made it out to be.

Based on the information voluntarily released by the campaign, it’s unclear how much of the windfall will go to campaign versus the Republican National Committee, or how much of the total came in pledges as opposed to actual cash. Nor is it clear how much came from the small donors about whom Trump boasts.

Some of those answers won’t be revealed until the middle of October, when the campaign and its joint fundraising committees with the RNC will be required to file financial reports with the Federal Election Commission. But other details — including the amount raised from small donors in the 24 hours after the debate — may never be independently verifiable, thanks to the nuances of campaign finance reporting requirements.

Those nuances were lost in Trump’s boasts about the fundraising haul during a Tuesday evening speech in Melbourne, Florida, nearly 24 hours after the debate.

 

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