U.S. Senate candidate Karin Housley, lagging in the polls, is set to receive fundraising support from President Trump on October 3rd at an event in Rochester, MN.
According to a copy of the invitation, which was obtained by Documented, the first priority of her campaign is gathering funds to pay herself back money she lent her campaign during the primary – rather than prioritizing raising money to help in the general election.
Only after individual donors at the event have given the maximum allowed to her primary election account, will any additional contributions be directed to her general election campaign.
Funds raised at the event – including photographs with the President, sold for $10,000 each – will go to a “joint fundraising committee” (JFC) called the Karin Housley Victory Fund. They will then be channeled to various fundraising vehicles up to the maximum amounts allowed under federal election law, in a specific order set out in the invitation.
According to the invitation, the first $2,700 from any single contribution would go to the Housley for Senate Committee primary election account. Only after any donor has maxed out to that account, will the next $2,700 go to the Housley for Senate Committee general election account.
Housley won her Republican primary on August 14, 2018, but that campaign still owes her $180,000 that she personally loaned to the campaign.
“A candidate may only raise money for a primary that has passed if they have outstanding debt from the primary,” Brendan Fischer, Campaign Legal Center’s Director, Federal Reform told Documented.
“Housley lent her campaign $180,000 during the primary, so according to the invitation, the first $2,700 that a donor gives to Housley’s joint fundraising committee is going towards paying down the candidate’s own loans. This means that President Trump is flying to Minnesota to help Housley get repaid.”
As the invitation states, the “maximum an individual or a federal non-multicandidate political committee may contribute to JFC is $242,700.”
Following funds given to the two Housley campaign primary and general election accounts, all of any further giving up to $237,000 (the maximum amount) would go to the National Republican Senate Committee (NRSC), the NRSC Legal Fund, and the NRSC Building Fund in that order.
Housley, has generally supported the President’s agenda, although she has been lightly critical of Trump on some issues including immigrant family separation. She is running 7-9% behind her Democratic opponent Tina Smith according to the last three polls collated by fivethirtyeight.com.