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Why are Trump’s swamp creatures still grifting Americans?| COMMENTARY

In this photo from September 2020, Rep. Adam Kinzinger questions witnesses during a House Committee on Foreign Affairs hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Kinzinger founded the Country 1st super PAC to back candidates willing to push back against former President Donald Trump's influence on the party. (Kevin Dietsch/POOL/AFP/Getty Images)
In this photo from September 2020, Rep. Adam Kinzinger questions witnesses during a House Committee on Foreign Affairs hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Kinzinger founded the Country 1st super PAC to back candidates willing to push back against former President Donald Trump's influence on the party. (Kevin Dietsch/POOL/AFP/Getty Images) (Pool/Getty Images North America/TNS)

Much of the Republican conservative universe has been united in their contempt of the now scandal-plagued Lincoln Project, a self-described group of Republicans who sold themselves as do-gooders only seeking to rid the nation of the evils of Donald Trump.

Now, many on both sides of the aisle and in the media have been describing the Lincoln Project as a team of “grifters” who allegedly cashed-in on the hate the Democrats, the far-left and various celebrities in Hollywood had for Mr. Trump — to the tune of tens of millions of dollars.

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Earlier this month, the conservative Washington Times published a piece titled: “How is the Lincoln Project still in Business? For people who have willingly given their money to Lincoln Project grifters, the word ‘sucker’ doesn’t go deep enough.”

Fair question. But a better one for Republicans, conservatives and people of faith who supported Donald Trump would be: “Are there Trump grifters out there? If so, how are they still in business?”

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The lack of curiosity from most in their ranks regarding some of the Trump swamp creatures — those who once pushed draining the swamp until they realized how much money there was to be made there — is quite telling.

Fortunately, a few are speaking out.

Before the attack on the Capitol, Illinois Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger, at the very end of December, tweeted out a warning. “All this talk about Jan. 6 from @realDonaldTrump and other congressional grifters is simply explained: they will raise money and gain followers by blaming everyone else knowing full well they can’t do anything. It’s sad, and an utter scam. #restoreourgop.”

The congressman — who is a Lieutenant Colonel in the Air National Guard — was not only spot-on with his Twitter criticism, but eerily prescient in a CNN interview around the same time: “If you convince people that, you know, Congress can change a legitimate election and everything was stolen, there is a deep state/QAnon theory driving this that Satanist pedophiles run the government, you can see people being driven to violence …”

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Ten days later, the Capitol building was stormed. Knowing that, maybe the GOP should take Mr. Kinzinger’s warning regarding Trump “grifters” very seriously.

For instance, soon after Mr. Trump legally lost the election to Joe Biden, Trump supporters created a leadership PAC titled: “Save America.”

As recently reported by ABC News and others, this PAC and other Trump-enabling entities raised close to $300 million contesting the presidential election as well as the runoff election in Georgia. Almost all of that money was sent in by “small donors.” In other words, average and often poor Americans who were convinced by hundreds of fundraising emails, that the election may have been “stolen” from them.

Fleecing the poor, the elderly, the ignorant and the vulnerable for personal profit is a time-honored tradition for various swamp creatures. It’s also how certain “prosperity preacher” televangelists and evangelists have operated for years, as they accumulated jets, mansions and bursting bank accounts.

Coincidently, as news reports keep telling us, a number of “Republican” political consultants are allegedly buying multimillion dollar homes, paying off massive tax debts and working overtime to conceal how much money went into their personal bank accounts.

Going back to the Trump “Save America” PAC and others raising money off suggestions of a stolen election, news reports reveal that only about $13 million of the almost $300 million — and still pouring in — was spent on legal expenses. More than $100 million of it went to fundraising and “advertising efforts aimed at raising even more money,” ABC reported.

What we don’t know is how many Trump consultants got paid or how much, and who exactly controls the rest of the money. Given that the election was not “stolen,” shouldn’t those donors get their money back? Don’t the Republicans, conservatives and people of faith who supported Mr. Trump want those questions answered?

They should demand to know who precisely, if anyone, personally profited off the millions of donations sent in by Americans who truly need that money to survive, be it through the Trump “Save America” PAC, or the over $25 million raised by Steve Bannon and three others for the “We Build the Wall” project (all accused of defrauding donors by federal prosecutors, though Mr. Bannon was pardoned by Mr. Trump just before he left office).

If the Lincoln Project is bad, how do we classify those bombarding “small donor” Americans for money to fight a “stolen” election that wasn’t stolen?

If the Republican Party and conservative elites choose to look the other way for personal and partisan reasons, I suspect the Biden Department of Justice will be interested in “following the money.” A swamp creature is a swamp creature no matter their party affiliation, and none are good for the American people.

Douglas MacKinnon is a former White House writer for Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush and a Pentagon official. His latest book, a novel, is “The Dawn of a Nazi Moon: Book One.”

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