Kanye West, who in July announced he was running for the presidency in November as an independent, has loaned $6.8 million to his 2020 presidential committee, largely self-funding his fledgling campaign, according to a financial disclosure report cited by ABC.
The West campaign has only raised a small amount – a little under $11,500 from eight donors that gave between $200 and $1,000 and smaller donors who gave under $200 between 15 July and 31 August.
The report also indicates that the rapper’s team spent a total of $5.9 million during that time period, mostly to get West's name on the ballot in states across the country.
His campaign reported paying $4.4 million for various ballot access-related expenses, getting the singer on the ballot in a handful of states, whereas in multiple others, litigation to this end is pending. West is now asking the Arizona state Supreme Court to reverse a ruling that is keeping him off the ballot in the battleground state.
He reported paying nearly $1.3 million to Atlas Strategy Group — the firm started by Gregg Keller, a prominent Republican operative who has helped major conservative groups and worked on campaigns for Republicans like Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and former President George W. Bush.
He also turned out to have paid just under $1.5 million for the services of Fortified Consulting, an Arizona-based firm with little public presence, and $2.6 million to the Long Island-based Millennial Strategies, a firm that lists Democrats as clients, including Pete Buttigieg's presidential campaign during the primaries.
Separately, West paid $25,000 to John Boyd, whom New York magazine described as a "spiritual adviser" to the musician, and $25,000 to Isaac Ford, who reportedly helped get West on the ballot in that state.
So far, the music mogul has made it on the ballot in 10 states, including potential battlegrounds like Colorado, Iowa, and Minnesota. On Thursday, West's campaign hit two roadblocks, in two different states. A judge booted him from the ballot in Virginia, saying his team fraudulently or improperly collected signatures. And in Arizona, a judge blocked West from appearing on the ballot.
Political operatives on both sides of the aisle said West's campaign appears to be little more than an effort to dilute support from Democratic hopeful Joe Biden and boost President Donald Trump's re-election chances. One source told CNN that GOP operatives believed they had the Trump campaign's blessing to aid West's efforts. However, the musician argued he was running independently, admitting though he used to support President Trump.
West announced he was running for US president on 4 July and declared to Forbes he was running as a member of the Birthday Party, "because when we win, it's everybody's birthday".
However, his South Carolina campaign kickoff immediately raised concerns about the rapper's well-being: West, who appeared wearing a bullet-proof vest, jumped from topic to topic during his address to the electorate before he broke down crying while discussing abortion and his family.