Trump’s PAC, Which Pays His Legal Bills, Is Nearly Out of Cash

Supporters of former President Donald Trump outside the courthouse in Manhattan where he was ultimately found guilty of 34 felony counts of falsifying business records, in Manhattan, May 29, 2024. (Todd Heisler/The New York Times)
Supporters of former President Donald Trump outside the courthouse in Manhattan where he was ultimately found guilty of 34 felony counts of falsifying business records, in Manhattan, May 29, 2024. (Todd Heisler/The New York Times)

The political account that former President Donald Trump has been using to pay his sizable legal bills has dwindled to less than $4 million in the bank, after accounting for its debt, according to new federal election filings.

So far in 2024, Trump is averaging nearly $5 million per month in spending through his political action committee, which is called Save America, with an overwhelming share going to legal bills. That means that as of the end of May, Trump had barely enough cash left to cover a single month of legal bills.

Trump has avoided tapping his own personal fortune to fund his hefty legal bills. Instead, he has relied on donor funds through his PAC. He has not used his campaign committee for legal bills.

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The former president is balancing an extraordinary series of serious and costly legal threats alongside his 2024 presidential campaign. He was just on trial in New York and found guilty of 34 felony counts related to falsifying business records to cover up a sex scandal. And Trump has also been indicted in three other criminal cases — all of which require expensive legal work — that have yet to come to trial. His PAC has also covered legal expenses in his civil cases

In May alone, when most of the New York criminal trial against Trump took place, Trump paid $1.8 million to the firm of Todd Blanche. Blanche was the former president’s principal lawyer for the trial in New York and is working on two federal cases in which Trump has been indicted, one in Florida and one in Washington, D.C.

Overall, Trump has spent more than $100 million on legal and investigation-related bills since leaving the White House in early 2021. And at least 17 firms and companies have been paid $1 million or more since the beginning of last year.

Save America had $4,474,030 at the end of May, and it had accumulated $861,630 in unpaid bills, according to the filings.

While the legal cases have been costly for Trump, they have also helped motivate his base to donate. In the 24 hours after his criminal conviction in May, the Trump campaign said that it had raised $53 million online, a windfall that is reshaping the financial landscape of 2024. Trump’s operation with the Republican National Committee entered June with more cash, $235 million, than President Joe Biden had with the Democratic National Committee.

“President Trump’s lawyers will continue to fight all of these Biden trials and they will continue to be appropriately compensated for their time and efforts,” Steven Cheung, a spokesperson for Trump, said in a statement.

And more money will be on the way from the fundraising agreement Trump struck with the Republican National Committee after he became the presumptive nominee.

Trump’s advisers have publicly said that the party would not be funding Trump’s legal bills. And while that is technically true, the agreement instead sends $5,000 of major contributions directly to Trump’s PAC, even before the party gets its cut.

The account where those larger donations are accumulating, the Trump 47 Committee, has so far made only one $183,054 transfer to Save America, records showed. There were no transfers in May.

Trump’s advisers also set up a legal defense fund several months ago, which has continued to raise money but does not have an updated public accounting. (Legal defense funds are subject to different, less frequent disclosure requirements.) The fund was described as intended for advisers to Trump, although officials could always decide to expand it.

While Trump’s lawyers were not the only lawyers paid during the filing period — some represent other clients — those representing him received the largest amounts.

Besides the payments to Blanche, Save America’s largest payments of legal fees last month were $450,000 to John F. Lauro, $253,849 to Continental PLLC and $236,148 to Chris Kise & Associates, the filings showed.

The largest nonlegal expense from his PAC in May was an $80,533.74 payment to Trump’s own property in Bedminster, New Jersey, for lodging and catering. The committee has also continued to make monthly “strategy consulting” payments to Hervé Pierre Braillard, a stylist who worked with the former first lady, Melania Trump, the records showed.

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