|Is the man on the left, Ian Hawes, scamming Trump supporters,|
and by extension Trump himself?
That's fine: If you like your candidate and want to donate, go for it!
However, it turns out you really, really have to be careful to figure out if you are indeed contributing to the Trump campaign, or any other legit campaign for that matter.
There are scammers out there pretending to be part of the Trump team.
Like Ian Hawes, He launched a website called dinnerwithtrump.org which Politico says netted $350,00 in donations. Of that, $133,000 went to a company Hawes founded and owns called CartSoft LLC.
At last check, none of the money has gone to Trump, says Politico.
The site's home page tells visitors to "Enter for a chance for you and a guest to have dinner with Donald Trump. The flight, food and stay are no us."
The site invites people to enter their name, email address and zip code and the site says people can double their chances of winning by submitting a donation.
However, the web site has fine printe that says the prize is not a private dinner with Trump, but rather a chance to attend a Donald Trump event with other attendees. So maybe you get to go to a Trump rally if you win.
If you want to call a Trump rally "winning."
And if the web site actually declares a "winner." Or will they just keep the money and move on?
Hawes launched another web site, crookedhillary2016.org, purporting to have a contest to revoke Hillary Clinton's security clearance. Hawes is also raking in the dough with that one, as he's playing off Trump's penchant for always calling Clinton "Crooked Hillary."
It's unclear whether any of the money Hawes collected has or will go to the Trump campaign. But it looks like he's making pretty damn good money for himself.
Politico says the Federal Election Commission is pretty powerless to go after potential fraud cases, like this one might be.
The takeaway: No matter who you support in any give election, be careful how you donate money.
Politico says that scam political action committees that act on "behalf" of candidates are cropping up all over the place. The scam web sites are designed to look like the actual candidates' sites, and the scammers buy Google and Facebook ads to lure unsuspecting donors.
Trump's fans are particularly enthusiastic about the candidate, so they are an appealing target for scammers.
Some people say the candidates lie to use. Some people say Trump is a con man. But the scammers scamming the people - and scamming Trump - are even worse.
Money in politics is awful these days. It even creates a GREAT environment for scammers. Buyer beware.