RNC Already Helping Raise Money For Trump’s Legal Bills, Despite Campaign's Claims

WASHINGTON — Despite previous claims that the Republican National Committee would not be paying Donald Trump’s various legal bills, an invitation to a Palm Beach, Florida fundraiser next month shows that the Save America committee Trump has been using for that purpose will, in fact, be a recipient of donor money.

The fundraiser for a joint committee called “Trump 47” is to be held on April 6, according to an invitation obtained by HuffPost, with a “chairman” level donation set at $814,600 per person, and a “host” level at $250,000.

A Tuesday filing with the Federal Election Commission states that Trump 47 raises money for the Trump campaign, as well as Save America, the Republican National Committee and 40 state-level Republican committees.

“I told you so,” said Michael Steele, a former RNC chairman. “Why do folks still believe the BS coming from Trump, the RNC or his campaign when it comes to RNC donor money? The RNC will absolutely find ways to pay his bills because otherwise why is Lara Trump co-chair? For her expert political acumen or the state party operations she’s run?”

(Lara Trump is the former president’s daughter-in-law. She was installed as the RNC’s co-chair late last month.)

The invitation does not state how much of each donation would go to each entity, and the Trump campaign did not respond to a HuffPost query.

However, a supplementary document obtained by The Associated Press states that of each donation, the first $6,600 will go to the Trump campaign, the next $5,000 to Save America and the rest to the RNC and the various state parties.

Flyer for a Republican fundraiser for Donald Trump, obtained by HuffPost.
Flyer for a Republican fundraiser for Donald Trump, obtained by HuffPost. HuffPost

Under that formula, a $15,000 donation to “Trump 47” would see 44% go to Trump’s campaign, 33% to Save America, and the remaining 23% go to the RNC and the state committees. Much larger donations, however, would see most of the money going to the national and state parties, as the $6,600 and $5,000 limits are legal maximums.

Top Trump aide Chris LaCivita earlier this month told the AP that no RNC money would be spent on Trump’s legal fees.

That allocation could result in many tens of millions of dollars of donor money being diverted to an entity that has primarily paid Trump’s bills for his criminal prosecutions, his civil fraud case in New York and the defamation case brought against him by E. Jeanne Carroll.

Trump’s current fundraising operation sends 90 cents of each dollar it raises to his campaign, and gives 10 cents to Save America.

The new formula for Trump 47 potentially could send far more money to Save America — which, because it’s regulated as a different kind of committee from Trump 47, can effectively be used as Trump’s personal slush fund.

Trump last year spent $54.2 million in political contributions — most of it from his army of small dollar donors, many of them retirees — to pay his lawyers, according to a HuffPost analysis of FEC filings.

“Every time I think my visceral loathing of Donald Trump and my utter contempt for all those who enable and support him may be irrational, something like this happens to reassure me,” said Mac Stipanovich, a longtime Republican consultant in Florida.

Trump, whose followers attacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 in a bid to reinstall him as president, is facing two criminal cases resulting from his actions leading up to and on that day.

A federal indictment could go to trial as early as late August, depending on the timing of a Supreme Court ruling on his claim that he is immune from prosecution. A Georgia state prosecution based on his attempt to overturn his election loss in that state could also start later this year.

A New York state prosecution on charges that he falsified business records to hide hush money payments in the days before the 2016 election could start as early as next month, while a second federal prosecution based on his refusal to turn over secret documents he took with him from the White House to his South Florida country club has not yet been set for trial.

In 2023, a New York jury found that Trump had sexually penetrated Carroll against her will in an incident in the 1990s, finding him civilly liable for sexual abuse. The federal judge in the case later clarified that Trump’s actions were rape in the “common modern parlance.”