The nascent fundraising effort by presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump has hit yet another snag.
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The FOX Business Network has learned that billionaire oil magnate T. Boone Pickens has abruptly cancelled his planned fundraiser at his ranch in Mesa Vista, Texas that was scheduled for June 11-13; No new formal date has been rescheduled.
In an email to FOX Business, Pickens spokesman Jay Rosser said, “The proposed donor event for mid-June has proved overly problematic from a logistics and scheduling standpoint. We will look to reschedule a major fundraising initiative later in the campaign, most likely after the Republican Convention when Mr. Trump’s nomination is secured.
But people close to the campaign said several other factors played a role in the decision, including Pickens being uncomfortable with Trump’s fundraising apparatus such as the available super PACs which he can funnel money through. Super PACs are semi-independent fundraising committees that can raise nearly unlimited funds for candidates as long as they maintain an arms-length relationship with the official campaign.
Trump is affiliated with a number of super PACs but they have been relatively dormant, largely because the candidate eschewed outside money in his quest to gain the nomination, having financed his campaign largely with loans totaling $43 million.
In his statement, Rosser wouldn’t elaborate on the rationale behind the postponed fundraiser other than to say that “there is no tension between Boone and Trump… Boone supports Donald Trump for president and is committed to help him win in November.”
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But the fundraising problems for Trump are manifold; Presidential campaigns cost more than $1 billion and while Trump estimates his net worth at $10 billion, much of it is tied up in real estate, his brand and other illiquid investments.
Trump’s likely Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, is expected to raise close to $2 billion, and given the so-far tight nature of the race – polls show Trump and Clinton nearly tied – money to finance attack ads and get-out-the-vote efforts could be the deciding factor in who wins the White House in November.
As a result, Trump recently announced that he would accept outside donations from well-heeled individuals like Pickens and others on Wall Street such as hedge fund impresario Anthony Scaramucci, who is a FOX Business Network contributor. The Trump campaign is also expected to create an official fundraising committee to glean contributions.
Even so, Trump hasn’t directly courted such donors unlike other major candidates and his relationship with many major donors is strained given his slash and burn campaigning, where he openly attacked GOP money men and their influence while stating that he didn’t need their contributions to win the White House.
Then there’s the issue of perception given Trump’s boasting of his wealth during the campaign. Trump’s successful business career as a real estate investor and reality TV host has been a central theme of his campaign as was his astronomical net worth, which would rank him among the nation’s most wealthy people.
“I hear from a lot of millionaires and billionaires ‘why should I give to this guy?’” said one prominent GOP fundraiser. “They’re saying, ‘if he’s worth so much money let him reach into his own pocket.’”