Trump, Republican National Committee turn to titans of industry to help raise over $100 million in second quarter

Key Points
  • The Trump Victory committee, a joint fundraising operation between the Trump campaign and the RNC, showed they have successfully captured some business leaders who financed their previous 2016 opponents.
  • Executives such as the Wilks brothers, who decided to back Ted Cruz three years ago, made a massive donation to the committee. Another new donor, Stephen Rosenberg, previously wrote a check for Hillary Clinton.
  • It shows the stranglehold Trump has on the Republican donor class.
President Donald Trump delivers remarks on supporting the passage of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade deal during a visit to Derco Aerospace Inc., a Lockheed Martin subsidiary, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, July 12, 2019.
Carlos Barria | Reuters

President Donald Trump and the Republican National Committee turned to the titans of industry for help raising over $100 million in the second quarter of 2019, according to one of their latest filings.

The Trump Victory committee, a joint fundraising operation between the Trump campaign and the RNC, showed they have successfully captured some business leaders who helped finance their previous 2016 opponents. The combined fundraising organization finished raising $29 million with $19 million on hand.

The decision by these business leaders to align themselves with Trump — just over a year before the general election — shows that Democrats could have a tough road ahead convincing these executives, who have fared well under the current administration with tax cuts and deregulation, to help finance their campaigns. It also shows the stranglehold Trump has on the Republican donor class.

"Our record-breaking fundraising is a reflection of President Trump's long list of accomplishments and the hard work of Chairwoman (Ronna) McDaniel," RNC spokeswoman Cassie Smedile said in a statement to CNBC. "New people are volunteering and donating because they want to be a part of a this movement to 'keep America great.'"

The Wilks brothers, Dan and Farris, combined to give $100,000 to the organization in April, the committees quarterly filing showed. The two founded a fracking company known as Frac Tech in the early 2000's and were later supporters of Sen. Ted Cruz when he ran for president against Trump. At the time, they contributed millions to the pro-Cruz super PAC, Keep the Promise III. Their combined wealth is at least $3.5 billion, according to Forbes.

Another new member of the Trump fundraising apparatus is Stephen Rosenberg. He's the founder and CEO of real estate behemoth Greystone and wrote a check for $360,600 to Trump Victory. Records show that Rosenberg backed Hillary Clinton's previous campaign for president, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.

A spokesman for the Trump campaign, Tim Murtaugh, said the committee's successful appeal to donors all comes down to the president's record while in office.

"The President's record of success is drawing unprecedented support from across the country. People are motivated to get involved and support his re-election," he said in a statement to CNBC.

Then there are senior business executives that have historically backed the commander-in-chief and decided to ramp up their givings this quarter to assist in the cause.

One such example is Andrew Beal, the CEO of Texas-based Beal Bank, who was once an outside advisor to the president. Beal invested $355,000 into the Trump joint fundraising committee in the second quarter, and currently has a pro-Trump super PAC of his own, Save America From Its Government.

Kenneth Fisher, the founder of investment advisory firm Fisher Investments, along with his wife Sherrilyn, combined to give $250,000. Fisher historically has backed Republican efforts and contributed to Trump's first run for president.

Finally, one of Trump's closest confidants in business community, Isaac Perlmutter, the chairman of Marvel Entertainment, gave handsomely to Trump Victory in the previous quarter. He spent $360,600 at the time and his wife, Laura, separately matched that amount. Perlmutter has a net worth of $5.2 billion.

Meanwhile, the Democrats are starting to roll out their second quarter totals as the Monday filing deadline comes to an end and because there's such a large group of contenders, they won't be coming close to Trump's haul.

At the moment, Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, leads the pack in the quarterly fundraising battle with a recorded $24.8 million in total contributions. Former Vice President Joe Biden is in second with a $21.5 million fundraising total.