Have you ever seen any of the following Facebook advertisements?
How about these?
What about these?
It would appear Donald Trump hosts a lot of contests for a chance to meet him.
He’s not the only presidential candidate to do so.
Elizabeth Warren holds them too.
Even Jeb Bush did three years ago.
It’s a creative way to drum up support.
Who wouldn’t want to kick in a couple of dollars for a chance to shake hands, and even break bread, with a presidential candidate–or even the president?
Barack Obama began “Dinner with Barack” in 2012 for which winners were well publicized.
But we’re talking about Donald Trump, a man notorious for smoke and mirrors.
He built his life on being a small-time Manhattan huckster who ran for president as a publicity stunt because NBC was paying Gwen Stefani more for The Voice than it was him to host Celebrity Apprentice.
Given Trump’s proclivity toward ostentation, one would assume winners of his contests would be on full display.
Trump never showed up except to snap a cursory photo.
We could ask the others–if there are any.
Since last year, in exchange for a modest donation, the Trump campaign has held at least 15 contests promising the opportunity to have a meal with the president, all expenses paid.
Last month, promised donors a “VIP trip” and an “epic” meal in Chicago.
An October 22 email from the campaign states:
“I just saw the most recent list of Patriots who have contributed to win a trip to meet me in Chicago on October 28th, and I noticed you STILL haven’t entered.”
The next day, another said:
“We’d hate for you to miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have lunch with President Trump himself at his FAVORITE hotel in Chicago.”
All told, the Trump campaign has sent over the last two years 86 similar emails.
None announce winners.
Popular Information contacted Matt Wolking, Trump campaign Deputy Communications Director for names of contest winners.
Predictably, Wolking did not respond; yet following the request, Popular Information received the following text message:
Popular Information reported this on November 4.
Trump was scheduled to appear at an Atlanta fundraiser four days later, begging the question whether the aforementioned a meal would even be possible given the preparation and security necessary.
Popular Information reports the pattern in Trump campaign contest announcements of promoting a meal with the president at a location Trump will soon visiting.
However, for several weeks in August and September last year, the Trump campaign purchased hundreds of Facebook ads about a contest with no stated location. Unlike the others, this contest was not promoted via email.
The Trump campaign is bound by law to provide the winner of each contest’s name upon request.
Former President George W. Bush’s associate White House counsel, Richard Painter, told Newsweek:
“You’re raising campaign cash, you’re lying to people. If you obtain money from people through false pretenses that’s a violation of federal mail fraud and wire fraud statutes.”
Former Federal Election Commission (FEC) chair, Ann Ravel, added:
“[Holding fake contests would be] ‘a fraudulent misrepresentation’.”
But when has Trump ever cared about laws?
Not surprisingly, this is not the first dubious contest the Trump campaign has offered.
In May, the Trump campaign offered to give away “the 1 millionth MAGA hat,” autographed.
On May 23, it ran a Facebook ad claiming the deadline to enter the contest for the hat was that midnight.
Interestingly, that same midnight deadline extended another 12 days.
In its ongoing investigation into possible Trump contest winners, Popular Information is requesting anyone with information in the matter to email Judd Legum at email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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