Many of us Democrats are rightfully concerned about a resurgent Republican Party and its policy-free platform and the former president’s “big lie.” They may take control of Congress this year and the entire government in 2024. So here is a tactic that many salt-of-the-earth Trumpists might respond to and be willing to leave the fever swamp of lies and diversions they have been inhabiting for too long.

It was Woodward and Bernstein’s source known as Deep Throat who encouraged them to “follow the money” to get to the bottom of Richard Nixon’s criminal efforts in 1972 to get himself re-elected (it worked!) and consolidate his power (it failed!)

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Long before Watergate, the US Department of Justice followed the money to gain the conviction of the notorious mob boss Al Capone in 1931—not for robbery and murder, but for lying on his income tax returns. Even before Capone, following the money was a standard law enforcement procedure for bringing mob bosses and their underlings to justice.

It appears that the January 6 Committee, the state of New York, and even the US Department of Justice are following the money from the pockets of Trump loyalists through his campaign organization and into the bank accounts of Trump family members and their “legitimate businesses,” and the pockets of “friends” of the Trump family. For example, one “friend,” Mark Meadows, the Former Guy’s Chief of Staff and a Tea Party congressman from North Carolina, got a million-dollar contribution to his “charitable foundation.” Imagine that!

Credit goes to the House January 6 Committee for uncovering the many scams that benefited the Trump family, their retainers and servants over the past seven years.

The fictional “Official Election Defense Fund” was advertised to the Trump faithful as an effort to uncover evidence of election “fraud” and to further efforts to “steal” the election from the Former Guy. The committee has found that the Trump campaign organization made no effort to keep this so-called “fund” separate from its other income sources or disbursements. Contributors to this “fund” should understand that these donations by gullible donors continue to be used by this campaign organization for its general expenses, and not for any misbegotten efforts to find actual fraud or change the results of the 2020 election. That boat has sailed, and even the Former Guy knows that.

This is what you might call a grift. You might call it illegal if you can establish that the former guy who banged the drum incessantly for donations actually knew that he irretrievably lost the election even if he didn’t want to.

Lying may not be illegal in some situations, but when a lie is used to take other people’s money for no other reason than to get that money, that’s against the law. It may be easier to convict the former guy for what he has been all his life: a con man who pulled one con too many and probably hurt many of his “marks” financially.

It will be easier to get the government’s prosecutorial arm—the Department of Justice—to follow the money in his grift—than to take on the politically sensitive but quite blatant attempt to destroy the foundations of our “democracy in a republic.”

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