USA Today, January 30, 2019
"In a solicitation, the Trump campaign asks supporters to "make a special State of the Union contribution to have your name broadcast on the Official Donald J. Trump for President livestream."
Suggested contributions range from $35 to $2,700."
WASHINGTON — President Trump's re-election campaign sought to cash in on the State of the Union address Tuesday night with a fundraising pitch — at bargain prices that dropped during the day.
After initially asking donors to send at least $35 in exchange for having their names scrolled during a live stream of the president's speech, the Trump campaign later send out an email solicitation saying only one dollar would do.
"Even if you choose to only give $1, the proof of your support will send shockwaves around the world as they see every American who proudly stands behind our President," said the pitch signed by the president's son, Eric Trump.
The fundraising technique is raising eyebrows from ethics watchdogs, who say the unprecedented attempt to raise money off an official White House event crosses a line.
“Donald Trump is commercializing and corrupting yet another national institution, making this just the latest disgraceful degradation by Trump of the presidency and our public institutions," said Robert Weissman, president, Public Citizen.
"I have never heard of anything like this," said Fred Wertheimer, president of the organization Democracy 21. "It is a no class, money-grubbing misuse of the State of the Union address that is way beneath the dignity of the presidency and the occasion."
In a solicitation, the Trump campaign asks supporters to "make a special State of the Union contribution to have your name broadcast on the Official Donald J. Trump for President livestream."
Suggested contributions range from $35 to $2,700.
"It’s not about just one of us," the fundraising pitch says. "It’s about ALL of us. Which is why your name deserves to be displayed during Tuesday night’s speech."
But Weissman said that the Trump campaign could use the live feed to promote more transparency in its campaign. "If Trump is going to do this, we at least should have truth in advertising: ‘This presidency is brought to you by Goldman Sachs, Dow Chemical, Koch Industries and coal baron Robert Murray."