Donald Trump has indeed given money to Democrat Hillary Clinton, as his opponents for the Republican nomination for president have claimed, but federal campaign records show he broke dramatically from donating to Democrats to GOP candidates in the fall of 2010.
Trump’s last donations to a Democrat came in September 2010, when he gave $12,400 in two donations to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and a fundraising committee benefiting her and other New York Democrats.
They were his last Democratic donations, according to Federal Election Commission records.
By early October, a mysterious poll had appeared in New Hampshire floating his name as a presidential candidate — Trump said he had nothing to do with it — and he told MSNBC’s Morning Joe, “It’s probable that I won’t do it but I can tell you, I’m thinking about it. Somebody has to do something. We are losing this country. This country will not be great if something isn’t done rapidly.”
Two days after that interview, Trump gave $50,000 to American Crossroads, the super PAC created by Republican uber-strategist Karl Rove. The group was backing Republican candidates across the country, including Chris Gibson, a New York Army veteran running for the U.S. House seat that Gillibrand had vacated when she was elevated to the Senate.
Up to that point, Trump had given $254,000 to Democratic candidates and PACs; $182,000 to Republicans. Since then, he has donated just over $600,000 to federal campaigns all to Republican causes and candidates, FEC records show.
As Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, one of Trump’s opponents for the Republican nomination, said, Trump did write “checks to Hillary Clinton not once, not twice, not three times. Ten times.”
Trump gave $8,500 to Clinton in 10 donations between 2002 and 2009, when she was a senator from his home state of New York, and he also gave more than $100,000 to the Clinton Global Initiative, the nonprofit foundation run by her husband, former president Bill Clinton.
Trump has repeatedly defended his prior donations as a business expense. “I support politicians,” he said during Thursday’s debate. “In 2008, I supported Hillary Clinton. I supported many other people, by the way. And that was because of the fact that I’m in business.”
In 2012, Trump gave $45,000 to Republican Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign and endorsed Romney. He also has given $47,000 to the campaigns and PACs of Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the 2008 Republican nominee for president. Most of the Romney money was a lump sum donation to Romney fundraising committee; the donations to McCain were scattered across various campaign accounts over a 10-year period.
On Thursday, Romney called Trump a fraud during a speech in Utah, and McCain issued a statement backing Romney’s attack.
Trump has also funded his presidential opponents. In January 2014, he gave $5,000 to the PAC supporting Cruz; in October of that year he donated $12,600 to a fundraising effort by Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who dropped out of the presidential race in December 2015. In 2012 he gave $2,500 to a PAC affiliated with former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, a candidate for the 2008 and 2016 Republican presidential nomination.
Campaign records show that Trump has also given to a bipartisan collection of officials who have encountered ethical problems, many of whom had to resign from office. They include:
• Rep. Rob Andrews, D-N.J.: In 2008, Trump gave $6,900 to Andrews, who left Congress while the House Ethics Committee was investigating his use of campaign funds for personal activities.
• Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y.: On several occasions between 2001 and 2005, Trump donated to Rangel’s campaign and a PAC Rangel runs, totaling $26,000. Rangel was censured by the House in 2010 for failure to pay taxes on a vacation property and improperly fundraising from organizations that had business before his committee.
• Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fla.: Trump gave $8,500 to Foley in several donations between 1997 and 2006. Foley quit Congress in 2006 when it was revealed he had been sending sexually suggestive messages to teenage boys in the congressional page program.
• Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y.: In 2007 and again in 2010, Trump donated to Weiner, who’s married to Huma Abedin, one of Hillary Clinton’s top aides. The donations totaled $4,300. Weiner resigned in 2011 after it was revealed he was sending sexually suggestive texts to a variety of women.
• Rep. Vito Fossella, R-N.Y.: In four donations between 1999 and 2005, Trump gave $3,250 to the congressman from Staten Island, who was drummed out of office after he revealed that he had a love child with his mistress.
• Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev.: Trump gave him $1,000 in 2000. Ensign resigned in 2011 after he admitted having an affair with his staff member’s wife.
• Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J.: Trump gave him $1,000 in 2007; Menendez is currently facing federal bribery charges.
• Sen. Robert Torricelli, D-N.J.: Trump gave Torricelli $2,000 in 1999. Torricelli did not seek re-election in 2002 after he was admonished by the Senate Ethics Committee for accepting improper gifts.
Culled from USA TODAY