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The Donald Trump campaign’s boasts of a formidable fundraising month in July spooked Democrats who feared their financial advantage could be slipping.
But a closer inspection of the campaign finance report filed just before Saturday’s midnight deadline indicates the haul came at a steep price, and the campaign was still not dedicating resources to catching up on building the staff and field organization that all previous presidential efforts have required.
Though the campaign touted an $80 million figure for its July fundraising, just $36.7 million of that total went directly to the campaign. The rest came in through joint fundraising vehicles with the Republican National Committee and state parties. But at least $9.5 million of that money is off limits for spending on the election because it’s designated for the RNC’s convention, headquarters and legal accounts. Plus, the RNC is considering spending its money down-ballot instead of supporting Trump as tensions boil over between the party’s apparatus and its defiant nominee.
The money that the Trump campaign raised also didn’t come cheap. The campaign more than doubled its spending from the previous month to $18.5 million in July, far more than in any other period of the campaign. But most of that money went toward expanding the campaign’s online fundraising operation.