Donald Trump says he’ll take donations to his presidential campaigns, but not from lobbyists who will expect something in return.
And he took a shot at another class of influential donors – hedge fund managers – saying they “get away with murder” and would have to pay higher taxes if he wins the Republican nomination and is elected.
The real estate mogul’s comments, during a Sunday appearance on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” came a week after he said he’s willing to spend $1 billion on his own campaign. Trump said he wants campaign contributions – but only if there are “no strings attached.”
And he said his own history as a donor has left him skeptical of many contributions.
“Look, I know the people that want something. I’ve been doing this all my life. I’ve been a very big contributor to many, many people on all sides for many, many years,” Trump said. “I don’t want lobbyists. I don’t want special interests.”
He said he recently took a check for $7.23 from a woman who sent “a beautiful little letter” saying it was “all she had.”
But he said he rejected a $5 million contribution from a lobbyist – who Trump didn’t name – who he expected would want favors in return in the years ahead.
Individual donations to political campaigns are capped at $2,700, though donations to super PACs – separate groups that work on behalf of candidates – are unlimited.
“Certainly I would take contributions, I actually like the idea of investing in a campaign,” Trump said. “But it has to be no strings attached. I don’t want any strings attached.”
He also took a shot at hedge fund managers, who make up a number of the top donors to GOP campaigns and causes.
“You know, the hedge fund guys didn’t build this country. These are guys that shift paper around. And they get lucky,” Trump said. “Look, they’re energetic. They’re very smart. But a lot of them, it’s, like, they’re paper pushers. They make a fortune. They pay no tax. It’s ridiculous, OK?”
He said he’d hike taxes of hedge fund managers and lower rates for the middle class.
“The hedge fund guys are getting away with murder. They’re making a tremendous amount of money – they have to pay tax,” Trump said. “I want to lower the rates for the middle class. The middle class is the one. They’re getting absolutely destroyed. This country, it won’t have a middle class very soon.”