Some megadonors support Trump super PAC as it backs him for president

Former President Donald Trump may have lost the support of Blackstone CEO Steve Schwarzman but a super PAC that will back Trump’s latest run for the White House has quietly amassed a small group of megadonors that could be key to financing their efforts to bolster his 2024 campaign.

Make America Great Again Inc., a super PAC run by former Trump aids and allies, recently raised over $40 million, mostly from a massive donation from Trump’s PAC, Save America, according to a Federal Election Commission filing.

Yet, the latest disclosure, which shows fundraising for the super PAC from Oct. 20 through Nov. 28, also lists nine other individual contributions totaling over $900,000. A separate FEC filing showing donations from earlier in October lists seven donations from six business leaders and one corporation totaling more than $3 million in support for MAGA Inc. Wealthy businessman Timothy Mellon contributed $1.5 million to the super PAC on Oct. 5, according to the records.

This small group of megadonors arrived in support of the super PAC just prior to other influential financiers deciding they will not back Trump’s 2024 candidacy for president. The donors walking away from helping Trump’s campaign include Schwarzman, Citadel CEO Ken Griffin, New York businessman Andy Sabin and billionaire Ronald Lauder.

Trump, who was twice impeached by Congress and is currently under investigation by the FBI for his handling of classified documents, declared his candidacy on Nov. 15. The super PAC’s latest FEC disclosure shows it has over $54 million on hand. A spokesman for the PAC did not return a request for comment.

The recent big individual donation, outside of the $40 million from Save America in November, was a $500,000 contribution from BPH Properties, an Alabama-based business run by real estate titan Luther S. Pate, IV. Pate, which also goes by Stan Pate, did not return a request for comment. State business records list Pate as BPH Properties’ president.

Pate published photographs of Trump and himself on the Alabama businessman’s Facebook page just days before the November midterm elections. Pate wrote in a Nov. 5 posts that he was with Trump at his private club Mar-a-Lago and said that the highlights of the discussion were “the upcoming midterm elections on Tuesday, voter fraud, stolen elections, 2024 and more. MAGA!”

The contribution from BPH Properties was received by the pro-Trump PAC on Nov. 9, just four days after Pate published the photographs, according to the FEC filing.

FEC records show that Pate has also donated to at least one other pro-Trump PAC in previous election cycles. Pate has not registered a six-figure contribution over the past decade toward a federal campaign like the one his company recently gave to the new super PAC backing the former president.

During Trump’s first run for the White House in 2016, Pate financed the anti-Trump super PAC We The People Foundation. The PAC, according to FEC records, ended up spending over $160,000 to try to defeat Trump throughout his initial successful campaign.

An archived website titled Anybody But Trump, which was funded by the We The People Foundation, says “America is great! Trump is disgusting.” The PAC also paid for full-page anti-Trump newspaper ads in Mexico and South Korea, according to NBC News.

The latest FEC filing says Splitco Holdings LLC contributed $100,000 to MAGA Inc. in late October. The donation has a listed address that matches Houston-based Fertitta Entertainment, the conglomerate run by businessman Tilman Fertitta. The businessman owns the NBA franchise Houston Rockets and hospitality giant Landry’s.

Although the Texas comptroller’s database doesn’t have any record of a business titled “Splitco Holdings,” they do have records for a business with the same address and almost identical name called “CH Splitco Holdings.” The OpenCorporates database lists CH Splitco Holdings’ managing member as CHLN Inc., a business run by Fertitta, according to other business records.

Fertitta has been a major Republican donor for years, according to FEC records. He gave three separate $35,000 checks from 2018 through 2020 to Trump Victory, a joint fundraising committee that backed the Republican National Committee and Trump’s failed run for reelection, according to the filings. The Rockets owner did not return a request for comment.

Fertitta went to a 2020 briefing at the White House to meet with Trump and discuss the Paycheck Protection Program loans that were initiated during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic. During the briefing, Trump called Fertitta a “great guy, great family, great everything.” Fertitta told Trump and administration officials at the meeting that his company had returned PPP funds because he didn’t want to appear as “the billionaire that took the money from the little business.”

Murray Goodman, a real estate executive and founder of The Goodman Company, gave $10,000 to the PAC in late October, according to the FEC filing. Goodman has previously donated over $200,000 to Trump Victory. His daughter’s wedding reportedly took place at Mar-a-Lago.

Carolina Olsson, an administrator at the Goodman Company, told CNBC that the donation was intended to help finance MAGA Inc.’s campaign to support Trump-endorsed Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker in the race for the seat held by Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga.

The PAC ended up spending at least $681,000 in support of Walker during the general election and nothing throughout the runoff contest that saw Warnock defeat the Republican contender.

Anthony Lomangino, a recycling mogul, donated $100,000 to the super PAC on Nov. 4. Politico reported in 2018 that Lomangino was a Mar-a-Lago member who gave $150,000 to a fund meant to defend Trump aides and allies snared in former special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.

Lomangino did not return requests for comments.

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