Friends with benefits
March 10, 2020

There's always money in President Trump's re-election campaign. And since 2017, at least $75 million of it has gone to companies associated with Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale and a group of his allies, Danny Hakim and Glenn Thrush report at The New York Times.

Parscale's group — which includes a trio of former Republican National Committee officials — has "seized control of the Republican Party's voter data and fund-raising apparatus, using a network of private businesses whose operations and ownership are cloaked in secrecy, largely exempt from federal disclosure," the Times reports.

Parscale's own flagship company, Parscale Strategy, "has billed nearly $35 million to the Trump campaign, the RNC, and related entities since 2017," most of which he says he passes along to subcontractors, the Times reports. But his purchases of several multimillion-dollar homes and a Ferrari prompted Trump to call him in for a "pointed lecture," and Trump is "perpetually concerned that Mr. Parscale and his team are making too much money" off his name.

Parscale answers to Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law, senior White House adviser, and "informal campaign chairman, overseeing the most vital arm of the new family business: politics," the Times reports. And "the Trump family looms over the whole operation." For example:

According to two people with knowledge of the matter, Parscale Strategy has also been used to make payments out of public view to Lara Trump, the wife of the president's son Eric, and Kimberly Guilfoyle, the girlfriend of Donald Trump Jr., who have been surrogates on the stump and also taken on broader advisory roles. Their presence makes for an odd dynamic between a campaign manager and a candidate's family.

During a campaign appearance last summer in Orlando, Ms. Guilfoyle confronted Mr. Parscale: Why were her checks always late? Two people who witnessed the encounter said a contrite Mr. Parscale promised that the problem would be sorted out promptly by his wife, Candice Parscale, who handles the books on many of his ventures. [The New York Times]

Read more about the RNC's private data collection and for-profit fundraising empire, the cut that goes to Parscale and his allies, and the implication for the GOP and 2020 election at The New York Times. Peter Weber

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