The Trump campaign and allies including the Republican National Committee refunded more than $120 million to online donors compared to the Biden operation’s $21 million in refunds in 2020, according to filings reviewed by The New York Times.
The refunds were to donors who gave money via WinRed, an online fundraising platform used by Republicans that was started in response to Democrats’ success with ActBlue. Many of the refunds were given to people who alleged they did not notice a pre-checked box for recurring monthly — or even weekly — donations.
The New York Times alleges that Trump’s operation duped donors into giving recurring gifts and essentially loaned themselves money from unknowing donors before refunding them after the election. Many of the donors said they accidentally gave far more than the legal limit because of the fine print.
The refunds spiked in the last two and half months of 2020, when more than 530,000 refunds totaling $64.3 million were issued to Trump donors, according to The New York Times.
The Biden campaign and its allies issued 37,000 online refunds totaling $5.6 million in the same time period, according to The New York Times.
Trump spokesman Jason Miller disputed The New York Times’ characterization.
“The fact we had a dispute rate of less than 1 percent of total donations despite raising more grass-roots money than any campaign in history is remarkable,” he told The New York Times. “Our campaign was built by the hardworking men and women of America and cherishing their investments was paramount to anything else we did.”
WinRed’s 2020 refund rate for the Trump operation was 10.7%, while ActBlue’s was 2.2% for Biden’s operation, according to The New York Times.
ActBlue is a nonprofit, but WinRed is for-profit, taking 30 cents of every donation plus 3.8% of the total amount donated.
Fox News’ inquiry to a Trump spokesperson was not returned at the time of publication.