AJC Watchdog: First Alert

Keeping watch on those who hold the public trust and money

The time Donald Trump asked me for money

As a journalist, I try very hard to avoid exhibits of partisanship. I don’t display bumper stickers or yard signs favoring candidates or political parties. I keep quiet about politics on social media. And I never, ever make a political contribution.

And yet, at least twice over the past two decades, I have been listed in campaign-finance reports as a “donor”: once after I paid Jeb Bush’s gubernatorial campaign for the cost of copying his tax returns in Florida and again when I reserved a spot for the AJC with the Georgia delegation to a Republican national convention. For years, computer programs at various Republican campaigns have misread my business expenses as political contributions – and I apparently will be on GOP mailing lists in perpetuity.

So it wasn’t too much of a surprise when a large envelope arrived in my mail a few days ago. The return address was, simply, “Donald J. Trump.” And the message printed in the bottom right corner: “Make America Great Again.”

It turns out, Trump wants some of my money to help, well, Make America great again. His letter rails against the “big government, radical Left policies” of Hillary Clinton and other Democrats. His opponents, Trump says, “misrepresent the truth” about the “real issues” – and “the liberal media will echo their lies as though they are unquestionable facts.”

Clearly, the computer programs didn’t filter out my occupation.

In any event, Trump asks for my “generous gift of $35, $50, $100, $250, $500, $1,000 or even $5,000” to the Trump Make America Great Again Committee. In case I missed the point, Trump repeats the request twice more in the body of the letter and again in a postscript.

I’ll have to decline Trump’s request, of course, just as I would any other candidate’s solicitation.

But if he’d let me pay for copies of his tax returns, believe me, the check would be in the mail.


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