Political Notebook

Trump wanted $1 million guarantee to attend Tulare fundraiser

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump waves to supporters from the back seat of a SUV on his way to an late August fundraising luncheon in Tulare.
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump waves to supporters from the back seat of a SUV on his way to an late August fundraising luncheon in Tulare. jwalker@fresnobee.com

It seems presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have appearance fees for campaign fundraisers.

This likely explains why Trump, the Republican nominee, made a central San Joaquin Valley appearance, and Clinton, the Democratic nominee, has not and probably won’t.

Last week during a Fresno County Bench Bar Media panel discussion on the two national political conventions, local businessman Bob Smittcamp said Trump required at least $1 million to attend a fundraiser at the home of Tulare County pistachio grower Corky Anderson.

Smittcamp attended the event, which ended up raising $1.25 million, a record for the Valley. Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Tulare, who organized the event, said it topped a 2012 fundraiser for then-presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, which hit the $1 million marks first for the Valley.

Clinton’s minimum, by comparison, is $1.5 million, said Fresno attorney Anthony Capozzi, who also participated in the Bench Bar Media panel discussion.

That is the likely reason Clinton has never made a Valley fundraising swing, even as she has attended multiple fundraisers in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area, where there is more money to be raised and she is more popular. Valley money is scarce for Democratic candidates for major party offices such as president, governor or U.S. Senate, and is it unlikely Clinton could have reached the minimum threshold here.

Besides Smittcamp and Capozzi, Michael Der Manouel, Jr. and Judith Lund also were Bench Bar Media panelists. Capozzi and Lund were Clinton delegates at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia and Der Manouel and Smittcamp were Trump delegates at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

Overall, presidential fundraising has seen major changes with the rise of the super PAC and more focus on online fundraising. Mega political action committees, as well as other outside groups, for instance, can get massive donations in the hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars from multimillionaires or billionaires. Those contributions make it difficult for candidate fundraisers to compete.

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