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Outpaced by Biden, Trump hopes to rake in $33 million during Florida fundraiser

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Former President Donald Trump’s campaign is seeking to outraise President Joe Biden next week, aiming to take in more than $33 million to top a new single-event fundraising record set by Biden on Thursday with $25 million, said a person familiar with the Trump event who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal planning.

Trump is inviting wealthy donors to Palm Beach, Florida, home to his Mar-a-Lago estate, for an April 6 fundraiser hosted by New York hedge fund billionaire John Paulson and listing as co-chairs other high-dollar donors such as Las Vegas-based businessman Robert Bigelow, casino mogul Steve Wynn and New York grocery billionaire John Catsimatidis. Guests are being asked to contribute $814,600 per person as a “chairman” contributor or $250,000 per person. Perks of attendance include a personalized copy of Trump’s coffee table book with photographs from his administration.

The plans to reach the fundraising goal of $33 million were first reported by the Financial Times.

Assuming that Trump succeeds in raking in the jaw-dropping sum, the glitzy event offers Trump an opportunity to shift the narrative following months of negative headlines that have focused on his dwindling political cash hauls and his use of tens of millions of dollars in donations to pay legal fees from a myriad of court cases he faces.

“We are not only raising the necessary funds, but we are deploying strategic assets that will help send President Trump back to the White House and carry Republicans over the finish line,” said Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung.

Trump is also scheduled to hold political rallies Tuesday in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Throughout his career in business and politics, Trump has a well-established reputation for inflating, or understating, his cash position — depending on need. His political committees, too, have relied on accounting gimmicks, including the recent clawback of an over $50 million donation — used to seed a pro-Trump super PAC, it was later refunded to help pay his mounting legal bills.

The haul would showcase Trump’s newfound ability to rake in massive checks now that he is the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee. Effectively controlling the RNC, Trump and his political operation can take advantage of the far higher contribution limits that apply to party committees. While candidates alone can accept a maximum donation of $3,300, under a new joint fundraising agreement between his campaign and the RNC, a single donor could stroke a check for just over $800,000.

The campaign says it has been increasingly raising more money, taking in more than $1 million a day online for six days in a row, and raising over $10.6 million last week from more than 280,000 digital donations.

Even though the event is slated to give his campaign a massive infusion of cash, it doesn’t alter the fact that Trump still faces considerable financial headwinds.

His main campaign account and the Save America PAC, which has paid many of his legal bills, reported raising a combined $15.9 million in February and ended the month with more than $37 million on hand, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission last week. Democrats, meanwhile, had $155 million on hand.

And while Trump can now collect massive sums in conjunction with the RNC, the fine print of a fundraising invitation for the event shows that Save America — the committee that has been paying his legal bills — will be given a cut of the money before the RNC.

——— Associated Press writer Jill Colvin contributed to this report from New York.

By ADRIANA GOMEZ LICON and BRIAN SLODYSKO
Associated Press

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