Linda McMahon will be nominated as administrator for the Small Business Administration for Donald Trump’s presidential cabinet.
Trump released a statement praising McMahon for her success in helping run WWE. Let’s consider too the political campaign contributions she’s made this year.
According to records from the Center for Responsive Politics, McMahon’s total campaign contributions far exceeded her donations of any previous year:
When cross-referencing databases at Center for Responsive Politics and the Federal Election Commission, we find record of Linda McMahon donating a total of $8,561,432 to various causes in 2016 -- as best we can tell, all related to the Republican party. A total of $6 million of those donations, the majority, went to Rebuilding America Now political action committee (PAC) that was established specifically to elect Trump as president.
Earlier this year, a large number of WWE stock shares were liquidated from a trust (GRAT) co-owned by Linda McMahon and her husband WWE CEO Vince McMahon. The shares were liquidated in two installments a few months apart.
May 16: The McMahons sold 2,191,894 shares of WWE stock at the price of $16.50 per share for a total value of $36,166,251. (SEC filing)
Note this came days after Ted Cruz quit his presidential campaign, on May 4, which made Trump the clear Republican party nominee.
On the day of this first selling off of shares, as you can see in the table at the bottom of this article, Linda McMahon happened to make a number of donations with a total value of $267,200. She made 98% of her campaign donations for the year on or after May 16.
In August, they sold more shares.
August 17: The McMahons sold 1,547,372 shares of WWE stock at the price of $19.32 per share for a total value of $29,895,227. (SEC filing)
The sale of those two portions of stock comes to a total value of $66,061,478.
Obviously that’s well in excess of the amount of money we can find record for Linda McMahon donating to political campaigns. After the political donations we can account for, that leaves $57,500,046 from the selling of shares that were held in the GRAT. It’s not public what the McMahon’s chose to do with the remaining funds obtained from their stock sales.
Far less than Linda's contributions, Vince donated $23,500 to political campaigns in 2016.
There are no records from the FEC or CRP of political donations for this year from the McMahon's daughter Stephanie McMahon-Levesque or her husband Paul Levesque, who are both WWE corporate executives. There are no records for the McMahon's son Shane either.
The McMahons gave Trump’s foundation $5 million from 2007 to 2009, which isn’t accounted for in FEC or CRP records.
Even after the aforementioned sales of stock, Vince McMahon still owns over 35 million shares of WWE. According to a recent filing with the SEC, that accounts for 48% of the WWE’s ownership. Because Vince’s shares hold special voting power that give his shares ten-times the voting power of shares held by non-McMahon family members, Vince still holds over 80% of WWE’s voting power.
Linda McMahon's campaign contributions in 2016, as sourced from the CRP and FEC: