The website dinnerwithtrump.org has scammed hundreds of thousands of Donald Trump supporters into thinking they were entering themselves into a contest where they would win a dinner with Trump. Some of the supporters were also under the impression that the contributions they made on the site would be going toward the Trump campaign. They were very wrong in that assumption, and they are NOT happy at all!
Ian Hawes, a 25 year old living in Maryland, is the mastermind behind this entire scheme, and it looks like he found the perfect group to prey on. When the website began, he spent around $108,000 running Facebook ads offering the chance at winning a dinner with Donald Trump. With the way the contest is worded, glancing at the website would give unsuspecting donors the impression that a private dinner with The Donald was grand prize.
For the record, it is stated on the website that “Your contribution will support our independent federal election efforts undertaken without coordination with any candidates or political parties.” It isn’t known where all the contributions have gone, but one of the biggest amounts – over $133,000 – has gone to fund one of Hawes’ own companies, CartSoftLLC. None of the money has gone to the Trump campaign.
POLITICO investigated this scheme and talked with some of the unsuspecting donors who contributed to Mr. Hawes’ PAC unwittingly and they were not happy at all. Mary Pat Kulina had this to say when she found out her donation didn’t go where she suspected it would:
‘I feel ripped off and taken advantage of. This is horrible. That was not my intent. This is robbery. I want my money back and I want them to add up what they stole from people and give it to Donald Trump.’
There were several other unsuspecting donors who had complaints about the scam, but Hawes didn’t seem to see why they were upset. When interviewed, he defended his group and denied any wrongdoing, saying “I would say, unfortunately, that’s simply a matter of pure chance,” He knew what kind of people would fall for this scam, and he did a great job of masking the design and website to fool the people into sending him money.
There are a few other people out there who don’t feel sorry at all for the poor unsuspecting contributors. [Editor’s Note: The first tweet is from a parody account, not the real Donald trump.]
Ian Hawes is a great guy. Very smart at business. Figured out how to dupe my dopey fans. Have job w campaign for him.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrumc) August 29, 2016
I think Ian Hawes demonstrates all the qualities one would expect out of a Trump U. graduate.
— Dr. Arbergay (@doctagee) August 29, 2016
We can't even get the FEC to stop a con artist like Trump.
— 🌀 Tina Gibson (@tinabgibby) August 29, 2016
The Trump campaign didn’t respond to any questions on this issue as yet, and Hawes said that he had not received any sort of notice to stop using the Trump name in their website. He may have actually made a genius move with the creation of this website, but sadly a lot of people have been duped in the process.
The bottom line in this lesson: READ THE FINE PRINT!
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