DinnerwithTrump.org looks harmless enough at first glance. Sharp graphic design and a campaign-like image of Donald Trump advertise a chance to win “Dinner With Donald Trump.” Similar claims accompany the group’s Facebook advertisements.
It’s a common theme among party fundraising. In exchange for your email (and hopefully your dollars) last March, George Clooney fans could enter a contest to attend his Clinton campaign fundraiser. And just this month, the Trump campaign committee offered supporters a chance at dinner with Eric Trump, and Donald Trump’s Twitter account detailed a contest to have dinner with the GOP nominee himself:
I want to know what YOU have to say about our campaign. Contribute $3 to be automatically entered to WIN. https://t.co/mo3CPf610z
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 26, 2016
That tweet redirects to a link within Donald Trump’s campaign website.
But scrolling down the DinnerwithTrump.org contest site, readers are met with the statement:
Paid for by American Horizons PAC
Not Authorized By Any Candidate Or Candidate’s Committee
The Dinner with Trump contest has been subject to scrutiny since December 2015, when it was run by another PAC before being taken over by American Horizons. Last year Donald Trump’s campaign “publicly called out” the PAC for “promoting the prize without the knowledge or consent of the candidate.”
However, despite the fact that the site is under new management, the site still advertises the chance to win a dinner with the presidential candidate. PAC organizer Ian Hawes, attempted to clarify the prize last month, OpenSecrets reports:
According to Hawes, American Horizons plans to make the prize possible by purchasing seats at a fundraising dinner that is organized and sponsored by “a state committee or state Republican Party” and promises that Trump will be in attendance.
Politico reports that the PAC’s biggest expenditures have been to Hawes’ own company, Cartsoft, for “media” and “media purchasing,” despite the fact that the company claims to be “an online payment-processing platform.”
PAC dollars typically go towards advertisements for a particular candidate. Politico reports that “it has reportedly spent $0 on behalf of Trump” despite the fact that it has reportedly raised over $1 million from 20,000 donors.
Hawes also runs CrookedHillary2016.org in a similar format.
The group is one of dozens of scam PACs claiming to fundraise in support of Donald Trump, but using most of the funds for personal profits.
The next FEC filing is due in October, and will show if American Horizons PAC forks over any cash to promote Trump’s candidacy.
Editor’s Note: This post has been updated after publishing.