Trump demands 5% cut from GOP candidates who use his 'name, image and likeness' in ads

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WASHINGTON - Donald Trump is trying to bring into politics a phenomenon that's taking off in college athletics: money for use of the former president's name, image and likeness in campaign ads.

In a letter this week, the Trump presidential campaign asked all down-ballot GOP campaigns for at least a 5% cut of the money raised from advertising that features the party's 2024 presumptive White House nominee.

"We ask that all candidates and committees who choose to use President Trump’s name, image, and likeness split a minimum of 5% of all fundraising solicitations to Trump National Committee JFC," said the April 15 letter signed by campaign co-campaign managers Susie Wiles and Chris LaCivita.

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Campaign aides said the new rules are designed to protect donors who believe they are contributing to Trump's campaign but are instead giving money to another candidate who is using the former president's name or picture.

Another concern: Candidates who are also using Trump's images to suggest they have the former president's endorsement, even when they do not.

"It is important to protect small dollar donors from scammers that use the president's name and likeness," said Trump campaign spokeswoman Danielle Alvarez.

Warning labels and 'messaging guidelines'

Thanks to a Supreme Court decision in 2021, college athletes are now able to profit from use of their names, images, and likenesses, through what are called NIL deals.

The Trump campaign letter said an even bigger percentage of fundraising would be welcome, and made clear that the Republican National Committee and Trump himself would be watching to see who complies and who doesn't.

"Any split that is higher than 5% will be seen favorably by the RNC and President Trump’s campaign and is routinely reported to the highest levels of leadership within both organizations," the letter said.

Trump campaign officials have expressed concern about fundraising, one of the reasons the presumptive presidential nominee installed new leadership at the RNC, including daughter-in-law Lara Trump.

The letter also recommended "messaging guidelines" on how to use Trump's name, image and likeness.

It asked candidates not to speak "on behalf" of Trump, and not to mention members of his family "without their consent or the consent of the campaign." The letter also warned against "impersonating President Trump or his campaign."

It also contained warnings.

"Any vendor whose clients ignore the guidelines mentioned above will be held responsible for their clients' actions," the letter said. "Repeated violations will result in the suspension of business relationships between the vendor and Trump National Committee JFC."

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Donald Trump demands 5% from GOP candidates who use his NIL in ads