Once again, the White House finds itself facing legal challenges as it defends the former president, Donald Trump, with its bank account being drained of tens of millions of dollars. This has put the administration in a financially strained position as it enters the second half of the political operation year. (AP) WASHINGTON.
The super pro-Trump PAC agreed to refund millions of dollars in contributions that it had previously donated to Trump’s operation. In order to cover the mounting legal costs faced by Trump and his allies, the PAC used $31.8 million in cash, leaving him with $42.8 million to cover the expenses of this year. However, his soaring fundraising efforts in New York and Florida turned into a rallying cry, as he faced two criminal indictments and used at least $53 million to cover the legal costs.
In this particular year, the figure is significantly greater: $40 million. However, as revealed in the latest campaign finance disclosures released prior to the Monday night deadline, Trump’s assortment of political committees reportedly disbursed approximately $25 million on legal expenses, as stated by an anonymous source well-versed in the matter and requesting confidentiality for discussion purposes.
Since January 2021, an analysis of campaign finance reports shows that Trump’s political campaign committees have paid out at least $59.2 million to more than 100 law firms and lawyers, when his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol, causing many legal troubles.
The possibility of two additional indictments, related to his efforts to overturn the outcome of the 2020 election, could make it difficult for him to campaign as he braces for this week’s developments in Washington and Georgia. A lack of cash could force his campaign to field a difficult primary challenge, as Trump currently dominates the Republican field. Though Biden has a massive cash advantage over Trump, the echo of the 2020 presidential contest’s cash woes is still haunting Trump’s campaign, which has seen its profligate spending evaporate.
Paul S. Ryan, an experienced campaign finance lawyer based in Washington, expressed astonishment at the amount of money spent by Trump’s campaign on legal fees this year, stating, “I have never witnessed such a situation before.” He questioned whether it was wise for them to allocate funds towards legal expenses, emphasizing that it is ultimately a decision for the campaign’s donors. From a legal standpoint, there is no issue at hand.
After launching his candidacy, Ron DeSantis, the Governor of Florida, raised over $20 million, much of which was hyped. However, he is not alone in his struggles with money, as his top rival, Trump, also faced similar challenges. During his first six weeks as a candidate, DeSantis experienced a cash hemorrhage, spending a large amount on luxury travel, security details, and staff, including more than 100 paid staffers. In a spending spree that amounted to $8 million, DeSantis trails behind his distant second-place competitor.
A super PAC called Down, Back Never, reported raising approximately $130 million in the first quarter, according to filings submitted before Monday’s midnight deadline. These filings also revealed that a significant portion of the funds raised were spent on voter turnout operations and campaign activities supporting the candidate.
The group that financed Governor DeSantis’ successful gubernatorial reelection campaign in 2022 was able to raise cash from several dozen donors and corporations, including Robert, a businessman based in Las Vegas, who gave over $100,000. The group was left with over $80 million from the other donations.
Trump does not possess the identical privilege. DeSantis has committed to resetting and reducing costs, resulting in the termination of over one-third of his employees.
Initiated by supporters of Trump, a fresh fundraising initiative named the Patriot Legal Defense Fund aims to assist in covering his increasing legal expenses. As per a recent submission to the IRS, the fund is designed to alleviate costs for individuals or groups involved in the political process who are facing legal actions. Susie Wiles and Michael Glassner, senior advisers of the Trump campaign, will oversee the organization.
Trump spokesperson Steven Cheung stated, “The weaponized Department of Justice and the unhinged Jack Smith have singled out innocent individuals connected to President Trump.” “A newly established legal support fund will assist in covering their legal expenses to counter these atrocious actions taken by Joe Biden’s associates and safeguard these blameless individuals from financial devastation, ensuring their lives remain intact,” The New York Times initially disclosed the existence of the fund.
According to a familiar person who spoke on condition of anonymity, the team has sought information about the ongoing criminal probes and has expressed interest in the payment of legal fees for witnesses aligned with Trump. Smith is the special counsel leading federal investigations into Trump.
In filings, the Save America group received $12.2 million in refunds during May and June. Some of that money was used to cover costs incurred by the group, including legal bills to pay for Trump’s primary committees. Additionally, MAGA PAC, the super PAC associated with Save America, also requested a portion of the funds to be transferred to them.
A representative for the super Political Action Committee (PAC) did not reply to a solicitation for commentary.
Campaigns routinely pay attorneys to manage their electoral and campaign finance matters. But legal experts say Trump’s staggering legal spending is unprecedented.
According to records, organizations established by Stefan Passantino, a former ethics lawyer for the Trump White House who provided guidance to individuals associated with Trump during the House’s inquiry into the January 6 attack, have received a total of $3.1 million. The law firm of Evan Corcoran, who was involved in the Mar-a-Lago documents case, has accumulated $3.4 million. Alina Habba, an attorney and spokesperson for Trump’s legal team who was involved in the civil sexual assault case brought by writer E Jean Carroll, has obtained $3.5 million for her firm since 2022, as indicated by the records. The majority of the primary beneficiaries have served as legal representatives for Trump and his associates in a wide-ranging array of investigations.
Trump launched America Save in the days after the 2020 election loss, bombarding his supporters with a continuous stream of emails and text messages purporting to raise money for an election defense fund.
Last year, the Department of Justice issued subpoenas to obtain information about the political actions of the National Republican Committee’s fundraising committee. This round of subpoenas was also aimed at gathering evidence of large-scale stockpiling of funds by Trump for his future political endeavors. The committee used these funds to replenish their coffers and pay off campaign debts. However, it is important to note that this $170 million raised effort was not utilized in the election contest, which took place in less than a month.