Donald Trump renounced using campaign contributions early in his campaign, but his supporters, not to be denied, have flooded him with cash, leaving him trailing only Bernie Sanders and Ben Carson in the number of small donations he has amassed.
Trump said in June, “I’m using my own money. I’m not using the lobbyists. I’m not using donors. I don’t care. I’m really rich,” but reversed his position in August. On October 15, candidates filed reports of their finances through September 30 with the Federal Election Commission. Although Hillary Clinton raised the most money of any candidate in the third quarter of 2015 ($29.9 million), followed by Bernie Sanders ($26.2 million), Ben Carson ($20.8 million), Jeb Bush ($13.4 million) and Ted Cruz ($12.2 million), the number of donations of $200 or less found Sanders deriving 88 percent of his donations in that fashion, Carson eliciting 74 percent, and Trump garnering 73,942 contributions, 72 percent of his total of $3.9 million in donations from the under $200 group.
Trump’s average contribution was $50.46, according to his campaign. In the third quarter, Trump spent $4.2 million.
Trump said in August that he would take contributions, but not from lobbyists, insisting: “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. I don’t want lobbyists. I don’t want special interests.”