Reclusive banking heir billionaire gave Trump $50m one day after hush money conviction

The huge sum, donated by businessman Timothy Mellon to Trump Super PAC MAGA Inc., is the largest federal individual campaign contribution so far this election cycle

Martha McHardy
Friday 21 June 2024 15:04 BST
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A donor gave $50 million to Donald Trump’s campaign on the day of the former president’s hush money conviction, according to new filings.

The huge sum, donated by Timothy Mellon to Trump Super PAC MAGA Inc., was the largest federal individual campaign contribution so far this election cycle.

The donation made up most of the $68.8 million MAGA Inc. raised in May.

Filings show the donation was made on May 31, the same day that Trump became the first US president in history to receive a criminal conviction after he was convicted of 34 felony counts of falsifying business records.

Mellon – an heir to the Mellon banking family from Pittsburgh, who Forbes estimates to be worth about $14.5 billion – is not the only megadonor who has rallied behind Trump following his conviction. The Trump campaign announced shortly after the guilty verdict was handed down that it had raised nearly $53m in just 24 hours after the verdict.

Six days later, on June 6, Silicon Valley investor David Sacks and fellow investor Chamath Palihapitiya held a fundraiser for Trump in San Francisco, with attendees reportedly being asked to contribute as much as $300,000.

Other prominent billionaires who have thrown their support behind Trump so far include hedge fund founders John Paulson and Robert Mercer, Blackstone Group CEO Steve Schwarzman, as well as fracking pioneer Harold Hamm and casino mogul Steve Wynn.

This year’s election is expected to be the most expensive election ever, owing to donations from billionaires. So far this cycle, Mellon, who has previously been a major donor to super PACs backing both Trump and independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr., has given more than $100 million to political organizations.

Richard and Elizabeth Uihlein, scions of the Uline shipping and packing company, have also been GOP megadonors, giving MAGA Inc. a combined $10 million.

President Joe Biden has also seen support from billionaire backers, with Michael Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor who ran for president in 2020, donating $19 million to the current president’s top super PAC, FF PAC, while The Washington Post reported that he gave $929,600 more to Biden’s joint fundraising committee.

Meanwhile, two regular Democratic megadonors, businessmen James Simons and Fred Eychaner, have directed $6.5 million to the super PAC that boosts House Democrats. Simons also gave FF PAC $6.6 million, while Eychaner gave the group $2 million.

To date, the Biden campaign has largely surpassed the Trump campaign in fundraising. By the end of April, the campaign had a record $192m cash-on-hand, compared to the Trump campaign’s $93.1m. Trump’s millions of dollars in legal fees have been reportedly eating into his campaign funds.

However, the Trump campaign surpassed their Democratic rivals in terms of campaign funds raised in the space of a month in April, raising $76m compared to the Biden campaign’s $51m. Trump’s campaign also outraised Biden’s in May.

CBS previously reported that Trump’s fundraising tends to enjoy a boost during key moments in his various legal battles.

Before his conviction, his single best fundraising days were April 4 last year - the day of his arraignment in New York City - as well as August 25, when a mugshot of him taken in Georgia was released.

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