The Back Road: ‘The Big Rip-off: Follow the Money’

The Back Road: ‘The Big Rip-off: Follow the Money’

Andrew Malekoff

The last book that I read that approached 1000 pages was “Musashi: An Epic Novel of the Samurai Era.” At 984 pages, this coffee-table-sized masterpiece of historical fiction took me the better part one summer to complete.

Thinking back to reading Musashi, to read the recently released 845-page report by the Select Committee to Investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the United States Capital would be a massive undertaking.

Given the length and density of the report, I decided to tackle it in parts. I was already familiar in broad strokes with the work of the Select Committee, having watched all of the hearings.

As I scrolled through the report to get a lay of the land, the heading of Appendix 3 (pages 770-789) jumped out at me: “The Big Rip-off: Follow the Money.” This section of the report elucidated Trump campaign fundraising efforts immediately following the 2020 election when donor dollars were explicitly sought to reverse the outcome of the election.

The Republican National Committee, by then under Trump’s control, was on board and in cahoots with the Trump campaign. Together, they formed “The Make America Great Again Committee” and established an “Official Election Defense Fund” to “help pay for legal challenges of election results.”

The false election-fraud narrative magnified The Big Lie by reinforcing a belief that the 2020 election was stolen. Likely donors were told that post-election donations would be used to change the result of the election.

Nonetheless, there were no apparent efforts to achieve that outcome. Yet, a staggering $100 million was raised in the three days following the 2020 election, ostensibly for the Trump campaign “to fight fraud that they knew did not exist and to challenge an election they knew he lost.”

It was purely a marketing ploy, a grift, to optimize the small-donor money grab by bombarding potential donors with emails and text messages that reflected whatever Trump was tweeting and spewing in the moment.

For example, “We need resources to make sure they don’t try to steal this election. We saw what happened on election night, we can’t let them take the Senate too.”

The decision to mislead his loyal base was not haphazard; it was deliberate. In fact, the report spells out three alternatives that the campaign considered: (1) Simply state that Trump won the election (even though they knew he lost). (2) Send an email stating “We are still waiting on election results.” (3) Say, “The democrats were trying to steal the election.”

They chose door number three, without verifiable evidence of voter fraud that would have changed the outcome of the election. Millions of email and text messages claiming the election was rigged were then transmitted to donors, sometimes up to 25 per person, per day.

Keep in mind that the RNC knew all along that Trump’s election fraud claims were without merit and that the donations would not secure him an additional term in office.

On Nov. 9, 2020, two days after the media declared Joe Biden victor, the Trump campaign created a Leadership Political Action Committee called Save America. The purpose of forming the PAC was to enable Trump to retain and use millions of dollars, originally earmarked for the bogus Election Defense Fund, for his personal use with very few restrictions.

Before the creation of the Leadership PAC, donations could only be used “on re-count and election-contest related expenses, and to pay off campaign debt.”

Once donations were funneled from the non-existent Election Defense Fund to the Leadership PAC, monies were used, for instance, to pay $100,000 in ‘strategy consulting payments’ to Herve Pierre Braillard, a fashion designer who has been dressing Melanie Trump for years.” 

The PAC is also paying legal bills for key witnesses involved in the Department of Justice’s investigation regarding Trump’s mishandling of classified documents.

The book Musashi and the Select Committee report have something else in common besides their length. They include scenes of graphic violence, the former to defend Japan and the latter to destroy America.

Musashi is a fictional account of a young man’s quest to learn the “Way of the Samurai.” The Select Committee report is a nonfiction account of an old man’s quest to gain absolute power to terminate a constitutional republic and operate above the law with unending impunity.

Saddest of all is the fact that many millions of Americans that revere Donald Trump and hang on his every word are blind to his contempt for them.

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