As he has gone about reinventing presidential campaigns, Donald Trump has offered many ideas about how to finance his operation. Sometimes those ideas contradict one another. This timeline traces Trump's journey through the confusing world of campaign finance. A few things to note:
Trump has paid for the majority, but not all, of his presidential campaign out of his own pocket. Trump's self-funding accounts for 72 percent of his campaign spending so far ($45.7 million in campaign loans and $63.3 million in expenditures as of May 31). Trump raised the remainder from mostly small donors.
Were Trump to accept public financing, it would net his campaign $96.1 million. But Trump wouldn't be allowed to raise more money for the campaign committee beyond that. The last presidential nominee to use public funds was Republican John McCain in 2008.
Trump and the Republican National Committee have two "joint fundraising committees," which organized in late May and haven't yet filed disclosure reports. In 2012, a similar committee for nominee Mitt Romney and the RNC raised $140.3 million before July 1.
Money-in-politics handicappers have put a $1 billion price tag on the winning campaign, from convention to White House. But Trump is on track to raise far less than that, having only launched a serious fundraising operation in June. Meanwhile, some prominent nonprofit groups, including the Koch brothers' powerful network, are concentrating on Senate races and not backing Trump's White House bid.
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