Why Donald Trump Is Paying For His Own Presidential Campaign

What the Multibillionaire's Self-Funding Means in the 2016 Election

Donald Trump
Donald Trump is financing much of his 2016 presidential campaign on his own. Scott Olson/Getty Images News

Donald Trump is paying for his 2016 presidential campaign out of his own, very deep pockets, saying he's able to do it because he's “really rich” and he doesn't want to be burdened by the constraints of the campaign-finance system. He's the only candidate in the 2016 presidential race and the first White House hopeful to in more than two decades to pay his own way through the primary season.

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But is Trump's self-financing a good thing or bad thing? It depends on your vantage point.

Trump claims it’s a good thing because he’s not beholden to special interests. "I don't need anybody's money. It's nice. I'm using my own money. I'm not using the lobbyists. I'm not using donors. I don't care. I'm really rich." he said in announcing his campaign in June 2015.

What’s good for Trump, though, is bad for his opponents and, eventually, could spell doom for the Republican nominee if the ultrawealthy businessman doesn’t win the primary. It's may not be all that great for the voting public, either.

What Trump's Self-Financing Means in the Primaries

That Donald Trump is funding his own presidential campaign means he can stay in the race as long as he wants. With as much as $10 billion to spend - it's what Trump claims he's worth - that’s a long time. It also means he can speak his mind without having to worry about angering donors.

And if anything Trump is known for speaking his mind, though he is prone to exaggeration and hyperbole, neither of which is helpful to voter attempting to understand the important issues of the day.  

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"If he were dependent on donors for his campaign, he would find the vast majority of donors would be looking for other candidates at this point," veteran Republican fundraiser Fred Malek told The Associated Press.

What Trump's Self-Financing Means in the General Election

If Trump doesn’t win the Republican nomination and he decides to continue running beyond the primary as an independent, he clearly will hurt the GOP’s chances at taking back the White House.

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Because Trump's core of support is made up primarily of Republicans, every vote for Trump in the general election would represent a vote lost by the GOP nominee. An independent Trump could steal enough votes from the Republican nominee and help elect the presumptive Democratic nominee, former U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton.

Other Candidates Who Have Financed Their Own Campaigns

The only other series presidential contender who paid his own way in modern history was Texas businessman H. Ross Perot. Perot ran as an independent candidate in 1992 and spent $64 million of his own money trying to get into the White House.

Trump Is Actually Raising Some Money, Though

Though Trump claimed he would use his own money on his campaign, his first campaign finance report - filed in July 2015 - showed he accepted contributions of $92,249 from about 60 individuals in the months of April, May and June of that year.


Trump’s presidential campaign committee, Donald J. Trump For President Inc., received 58 percent of that money in contributions of more than $200, according to the filing with the Federal Election Commission. Trump loaned $1.8 million to his presidential campaign during the same time period.

Super PACs May Also Help Trump

As if he really need the help, Trump may find himself the beneficiary of at least two super PACs seeking to influence the 2016 presidential primaries. They include the Make America Great Again super PAC and Citizens for Restoring USA super PAC.

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In a statement to Bloomberg News, the Make America Great Again super PAC said it would be "active in the presidential race and we like the issues that Trump is focusing on. They are issues that we will seek to educate voters on so they can make the best decision at the ballot box."