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Sacks and the City

david sacks
Top-of-the-line dinner tickets for David Sacks’ fundraiser could run as high as $500,000 per head, and are expected to be purchased by many prominent Silicon Valley personalities. Photo: Alex Flynn/Bloomberg/Getty Images

In the nebulous world of political fundraising, lies of omission and bullshit statistics are the lingua franca. But few political crimes are more gruesome than the statements made around campaign-finance deadlines—a time when flacks and counter-flacks selectively leak, spin, and at times even selectively report the numbers that partisans all too eagerly regurgitate. Reporters, for example, are leaked how much a group raised, but not how much it has on hand; we’re told about a super PAC’s historic haul, but not that the entire sum came from a single donor. The general public’s ears get sore when people start talking about hard dollars and soft dollars, dark money versus gray money, L.L.C.s and R.O.I. and J.F.C.s, which is precisely how most campaign insiders want it.

By now, for example, you’ve surely heard that Donald Trump outraised Joe Biden for the first time in April, according to new reports out yesterday. But in many ways, Trump’s ability to outraise Biden reflects his weaknesses as much as his strengths. For one, Trump only recently has been able to stand up a high-dollar fundraising committee that can collect so-called “super max” checks of $800,000 or $900,000, because he only recently became the presumptive nominee. Biden has been the presumptive nominee for years and has been able to do this for years. What Trump’s people won’t acknowledge is the easiest money that Trump will ever raise is being raised now, when there is plenty of low-hanging fruit to pick. It will only get harder from here, after the penance checks stop flowing.