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Trump's bills drain millions more from his political committees

Trump's bills drain millions more from his political committees


Donald Trump is ramping up his fundraising even as he fights criminal charges in four cases and appeals a nearly half-billion-dollar civil fraud judgment against him in New York. But his legal fees continue to pose a huge burden on his campaign and allied groups, as the latest campaign finance reports show, accounting for 26 percent of his political committees' spending in March.

New Federal Election Commission filings released Saturday show that Save America leadership PAC, a Trump-aligned group that he used to pay some of his lawyers, took in $5 million in March and accumulated $4.6 million in dollars in legal fees for Trump and some of his associates. . Throughout this election cycle, Save America has spent the most on legal bills among groups in Trump's orbit.

Trump's political committees have spent at least $16.7 million on legal fees so far this year and owed an additional $900,000 to various companies at the end of March, bringing the total legal fees since the start of his campaign at around $86 million.

Those costs continued to siphon money from the main super PAC supporting Trump, MAGA Inc., which agreed to repay $60 million to Save America last year. They transferred $52.25 million in leadership PAC contribution reimbursements in 12 installments that began last May. MAGA Inc. made another $5 million transfer to leadership PAC in March, representing almost all of Save Americas' money, according to new reports.

The FEC reports do not require candidates or their PAC leaders to disclose the legal matters handled by each attorney or law firm when reporting payments to those firms.

Still, there are signs that Trump's efforts to frame his legal problems as unfair attacks are convincing local donors to continue contributing to his campaign. FEC data shows that at a key point in the civil fraud case, such as on March 22, when he was asked to post bail of several hundred million dollars to prevent New York authorities to seize his assets, donations to his campaign increased. A New York appeals court later said former President Donald Trump would be allowed to post a reduced bail of $175 million.

We asked random New Yorkers if they could be impartial jurors in Donald Trump's trial. Here's what they said. (Video: Michael Cadenhead/The Washington Post)

On March 22, Trump wrote an all-caps message on his Truth Social platform claiming he had nearly $500 million in cash, a substantial amount of which I intended to use in my presidential campaign. He claimed in the post that the judge in the case was trying to take the money away from him. (Trump's lawyers had said in a March 18 court filing that he was unable to fund an appeal bond of more than $450 million to cover the judgment in the trade fraud case.)

It was his best fundraising day since his mug shot was taken in Fulton County, Ga., in August. During the last half of March, after clinching the Republican nomination, Trump raised an average of more than $1.2 million per day through the online fundraising platform WinRed.

Campaign finance records filed this week show Trump's joint fundraising effort with the Republican National Committee raking in big checks, with major donors giving a maximum of more than $800,000. But the cash available to Republican candidates at the end of March was still far behind what Biden and allied Democratic groups had hidden.

MAGA Inc., the Trump-aligned super PAC, has cashed large checks from some of the Republican Party's biggest donors. Robert Bigelow gave another $4.1 million to the super PAC, bringing the total he gave to MAGA Inc. to $9.2 million. Linda McMahon, who led the Small Business Administration during the Trump administration and now chairs the America First Policy Institute, gave $5 million to the group. MAGA Inc. said it had about $33 million in cash at the end of March after repaying $5 million to Save America.

Here are some other key takeaways from the latest filings:

A vice-presidential boon for Kennedy

Nicole Shanahan's personal wealth was one of her main assets when Robert F. Kennedy Jr. selected her as his vice presidential candidate for his long-term independent bid for the White House. FEC records show Shanahan helped replenish Kennedy's campaign treasury a day after joining the ticket on March 26, donating $2 million to the campaign. The money is a much-needed injection that could support Kennedy's efforts to run for office in as many states as possible. As a candidate, Shanahan can donate an unlimited amount to the campaign.

Before joining the ticket, Shanahan had donated a maximum of $6,600 to Kennedy's campaign. His venture capital firm, Planeta Management LLC, gave $500,000 in July to Common Sense PAC, another outside group supporting Kennedy. Planeta Management LLC also gave $4 million in January to American Values ​​2024, a Kennedy money-backing super PAC that helped pay for a pro-Kennedy ad during the Super Bowl.

Democrats tout their financial advantages as they seek to control the House

Reports filed with the FEC this week show that Democrats are extending their fundraising advantage well beyond the presidential race to many key areas in the battle for control of the House and Senate.

The Republican National Committee, which struggled to raise money throughout the Republican primary, doubled its cash flow, ending March with $22 million in cash. But the Democratic National Committee still has double that amount in its war chest, with $45.2 million in cash at the end of March.

The National Republican Congressional Committee, which focuses on House races, had nearly $56 million in cash on hand at the end of March, significantly less than the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which had $71.1 million in cash.

Other influential groups involved in competitive House races are also raising money at a rapid pace on both sides of the aisle. The GOP-aligned Congressional Leadership Fund super PAC reported having nearly $68.6 million in cash to spend on key races as of the end of March, while the majority PAC at The House said it had $63.2 million in cash remaining at the end of the period in documents filed Saturday. .

Although Senate Republicans face a much more favorable situation and have managed to recruit several wealthy candidates in key races, some of the most vulnerable Democratic incumbents are amassing huge war chests. That group includes Sen. Jon Tester (Montenegro), who had nearly $12.7 million in cash at the end of March; and Sen. Sherrod Brown (Ohio), who had nearly $16 million in cash at the end of the period. Both are defending seats in states that Trump won in 2016 and 2020.

Sen. Jacky Rosen of Nevada, a state that Democrats narrowly won in the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections, brought in more than $13.2 million in cash at the end of March, setting her up for a tough race in November. Sam Brown, a retired Army captain who is the front-runner in the GOP race, had about $2.3 million in cash on hand at the end of March. His Republican rival, former Ambassador Jeff Gunter, reported nearly $2.6 million in his campaign cash after loaning his campaign $2.7 million.




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