A new report found that the campaign of former President Donald Trump refunded $121 million in unintentional donations in 2020. As Joe Biden began to eclipse Trump in campaign donations, the GOP team behind the ex President instituted deceptive ways to increase revenue from supporters.
While political donation refunds are standard for people who exceed the individual contribution maximum, the Trump operation refunded 10.7% of the money they raised on the website WinRed in 2020. In that same window, donations to Biden were refunded 2.2% of the time. Bank fraud cases from WinRed accounted for as much as 3% of all claims made in the United States in 2020, which is exceedingly high for one company. The increase in refunds and fraud claims came as a result of pre-checked boxes allowing for recurring donations as well as secondary donation check boxes.
The donation check boxes used by the Trump campaign in their emails were bright yellow with flashy, directed language in bold and the specifics of their donation in smaller, lighter font.
Contributors who donate one or two times to the Trump campaign later discovered they were unintentionally opted-in to recurring payments. In the New York Times report, experts reviewed the several increasingly predatory recurring donation markers showing that the opt-out button became buried under large, often-capitalized text.
WinRed, the largest GOP donation company, has since come out calling their refund system “exceptionally easy.”