Former president Donald Trump would likely not be able to directly spend the $69m that he has raised through his leadership PAC.
The former president announced his third run for president on Tuesday evening, a week after Republicans’ much-hyped ‘red wave’ failed to materialise, with many Republican analysts blaming the losses on Mr Trump.
Mr Trump may run into some financial complications as his campaign gets off the ground. His Save America PAC is considered a leadership PAC, which legally cannot be converted into a campaign account.
However, Saurav Ghosh, director of federal campaign finance reform at the Campaign Legal Center, told Business Insider that he could likely transfer the money to his super PAC called MAGA Inc.
While super PACs cannot legally coordinate with campaigns, they can indirectly support a candidate by running ads supporting him or criticising his opponents.
“I think Trump's own lawyers understand that spending through Save America to back Trump's campaign would have been too blatantly illegal,” Mr Ghosh said. “I think they view it as a little more defensible to transfer it to a Super PAC.”
On Monday, the Campaign Legal Center filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission saying that Mr Trump violated election law when he transferred $20m to MAGA Inc. in October. The organisation alleges that Mr Trump has indicated he would run and made the transfer to skirt compliance with election laws.
“There’s very little question, when you look at his statements, that he had decided to become a candidate,” Mr Ghosh said.
But Mr Ghosh said he doubts the centre can get a favorable ruling because the FEC has three Republicans and three Democrats.
“Looking at past practice, I would say we're not hopeful at all because the FEC so often fails to enforce the law even on very egregious facts and very clear law,” he said. “Particularly when it comes to Donald Trump, the FEC has shown total dysfunction and total inability to enforce the law.”
The former president currently has about $93m stashed, $69m of which is parked in Save America, along with $23m at MAGA Inc. and another $1m at his former presidential campaign account. Federal Election Law stipulates that Save America can only transfer $5,000 to his soon-to-be-announced presidential campaign.