GoFundMe campaign will pay your legal fees so you can tattle on Trump
By NBC News
Photo from NBC News.
by NICOLE SPECTOR
A GoFundMe page called the Trump Sunlight Campaign was launched on Sunday with the goal of raising $5.1 million to motivate anyone in possession of potentially damning Donald Trump tapes to come forward.
"Recent developments have lead [sic] many to believe that video footage of Donald Trump exists which proves that the person we have all come to know over the past year is not the person that he truly is — footage that reinforces what we have all just recently begun to see more clearly," reads a section of the campaign's mission statement.
The campaign was created just days after video surfaced of the GOP presidential nominee using lewd and offensive language about women — remarks he's since dismissed as "locker room talk."
Since the tape was released, rumors have escalated that there is other, possibly more condemning footage of Trump talking behind the scenes.
Bill Pruitt, a television producer and director who worked on Trump's former reality show The Apprentice added fuel to the fire on Saturday, with the following tweet:
Aaron Holman, the campaign's creator, launched the initiative with a goal of $5 million because that's reportedly how much the Trump organizations will sue parties who break non-disclosure agreements (though that may be a low estimate; last July the Trump campaign sought $10 million in damages from former senior campaign consultant Sam Nunberg, alleging that Nunberg violated his NDA).
But Holman, a 34-year-old consultant based in Boston, wants not only to raise monies as a "legal defense fund," but also to let anyone who is holding evidence but scared to come out against Trump know that they are respected and that there are folks out there who want them to feel safe.
"A group of friends and I came up with this because we want to prove to people that there are thousands of us who want this information out, and that to say very purposefully, we support you, and we want to do what we can to help bring this information into the light," he told NBC News.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Trump Sunlight has raised over $26,000 from nearly 900 people. Ideally, the financial goal will be raised and whoever has "concrete audio evidence" of Trump saying derogatory things will come forward with the material, said Holman.
But no matter the outcome, Holman is optimistic that the campaign will help bring the importance of transparency to light. Holman is also hopeful that the government will introduce policies similar to those implemented on Wall Street, where if someone is privy to information that they feel goes against the public interest, they will be encouraged and supported to speak out.
"If some [program] were to come out that is directionally similar to those [enforced for big banks], that would drastically change the course of the country," said Holman. "It's not okay that someone with such information can't feel safe coming forward; that an NDA [precludes] that right."
Fear of major financial loss is a pretty valid reason to not break an NDA, but Meg Mott, professor of politics at Marlboro College in Vermont, asserts that breaking NDAs could have other, potentially more devastating impacts on a person's life.
"While I can't speak to the specific legalities [of these NDAs], I will say that generally, when you sign an NDA there's not only a lot of money involved, but also career advancement. Breaking an NDA could destroy someone's [career] in the industry," said Mott.
Of course, there's also the argument that if there is a person in possession of incriminating Trump tapes, they could triumph as a hero of the people should they break an NDA.
But then we have to ask what exactly a hero is in these politically furious times, times that Mott feels are hosting a new kind of "civil war."
"The larger question is what is the purpose of getting more leaked tapes?" said Mott. "What we're having in the U.S is essentially a civil war between two groups of people. There's no Mason-Dixon line, no geographical boundaries, but we have two different groups of people who have completely different understandings of the country."
"On both sides there's so much rage, fear, and hate, which is why I don't think releasing more vilifying tapes is a good strategy in the long run," said Mott. "It's just another way to alienate a group, and that's not good for democracy."