This entrepreneur is making big profits thanks to Donald Trump
(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)
Lots of companies–from advertising firms to publishers to hotels and political consultants–make lots of money during election time. But there’s one entrepreneur who’s doing something even better–he’s making money by contributing to Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders’ campaigns. And he’s doing it because of a loophole in the federal election law.
According to Federal Election Commission filings, Randy Treibel has contributed just shy of $25,000 in total to both the campaigns of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, more than any person in America has given to both the campaigns combined, according to this report from The Atlantic. Is it because he’s a great supporter of both Trump and Sanders? No. It’s because, as good entrepreneurs do, he’s figured out how to make money from the system.
Treibel has been buying up campaign merchandise and then reselling it on his Amazon store at a profit.
And he’s profited even more than he initially expected. According to the election commission rules, even purchasing a button from a politician counts as a political donation, and donations from individuals are capped at $2,700. Because Treibel’s contributions exceeded that cap, both candidates’ campaigns are refunding his payments–and not asking for any of the bling back (mainly because they don’t have the time to deal with it).
“It’s a little bit awkward,” he told the Atlantic. “The intent was simply to profit in a purely ethical and legal manner. But what it turns out is, if they comply with FEC law, I may get 90, 95 percent of my investment back on top of what I profit.”
For example, a Trump sign that he purchased for $10 goes for $35 on his site, which sounds kind of crazy, but not to Treibel. “People will buy it,” Treibel said. “Amazon customers generally are affluent and irrational and they just want it quick.” Note to other small businesses selling on Amazon: Given our need-it-now culture (and my own online buying behavior) you might be able to charge more for some of your products too.
Oh, and what about Hillary Clinton merchandise? “That stuff just doesn’t sell,” Treibel said. “Nobody buys it.”