Trump’s invitation to major donors prioritizes the committee that pays his legal bills over the RNC

(Jeff Dean/Associated Press)

Trump’s invitation to major donors prioritizes the committee that pays his legal bills over the RNC


March 21, 2024

Donald Trump’s new joint fundraising agreement with the Republican National Committee arranges donations to his campaign and a political action committee that will pay the former president’s legal bills before the RNC gets a cut, according to a fundraising solicitation obtained by the Associated Press.

The unorthodox spending of money on the Save America PAC makes it more likely that Republican donors could see their money flow to Trump’s lawyers, who have received at least $76 million over the past two years to defend him against four felony charges and multiple civil charges. Affairs. Some Republicans are already concerned that Trump’s takeover of the RNC could shortchange the cash-strapped party.

Trump has invited top-dollar donors to Palm Beach, Florida, for an April 6 fundraiser as his campaign money lags far behind that of President Biden and national Democrats. The fine print of the invitation states that donations to the Trump 47 Committee will first be used to donate the maximum amount allowed under federal law to Trump’s campaign. Anything left over from the donation then goes toward a maximum contribution to Save America, the RNC and state political parties, in that order.

Adav Noti,


The executive director of the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center in Washington said this is a break from fundraising norms. Noti said candidates typically prioritize raising money that can be spent directly on campaign activities. Save America, on the other hand, is structured as a leadership PAC and thus is not allowed to spend money directly on Trump’s own campaign activities. Legal costs made up 85% of Save America’s total operating costs in the first two months of this year, about the same as in 2023, when such costs were about 89%. It has spent $8.5 million on legal fees so far this year.

The reason most candidates don’t do this is because the hardest money to raise is money that can be spent directly on the campaign, said Noti, a former staff attorney for the Federal Election Commission. No other candidate has used a leadership PAC the way the Trump campaign has.

Trump’s campaign noted that Save America is spending money on expenses other than legal fees and that donors to the April fundraiser who contributed the proposed $814,600

per person

or $250,000 per person, only $5,000 of their donation will go to Save America, sending hundreds of thousands of dollars to the RNC.

Save America also covers a very active and robust post-presidency office and other miscellaneous expenses unrelated to the fight against the illegal witch hunts committed by Crooked Joe Biden. The Trump campaign, the RNC, and the state GOP parties ultimately receive the overwhelming majority of funds raised through the Trump 47 Committee. Of a maximum contribution from individual donors of $824,600,


“less than 1% (0.006%) will go to Save America,” Steven Cheung, the Trump campaign’s communications director, said in a statement.

A separate contribution form for the Trump 47 Committee allows donors to make smaller contributions or a contribution of any size, but still specifies in the fine print that the donation must first be allocated to the Trump campaign and Save America .

Trump’s hand-picked leadership team for the RNC includes his daughter-in-law Lara Trump, who co-chairs the committees, and Chris LaCivita, who essentially serves as one of two campaign managers for the Trump campaign and is now also taking on a new role takes. position of chief of staff at the RNC.

Lara Trump said in February that she thought Republican voters would like to see the RNC pay Trump’s legal fees.

But shortly before the leadership change at the RNC was approved, LaCivita told the AP in an interview that not a cent of the RNC’s money or, for that matter, campaign money has gone or will go to pay legal fees, he said.

Before Trump

was a candidate running for 2024,

the RNC paid some of his legal bills for cases in New York that began while he was president, the Washington Post reported. Former chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, announced this month, said in 2022 that the RNC would stop paying once Trump became a candidate.

The new arrangement does not direct RNC funds to lawyers, but it does ensure that when checks are written to the combined new Republican campaign, Trump’s campaign and Save America will be paid first.

According to the fine print, any donor who wishes can divide his contribution differently. Donors can also bypass the fundraising scheme and donate directly to the RNC or another entity.

Trump’s political operation is struggling to catch up to Biden in fundraising and organizing. His main campaign account and the Save America PAC reported raising a combined $15.9 million in February and ended the month with more than $37 million, according to filings with the FEC on Wednesday evening.

The two committees are important parts of Trump’s fundraising operation, but only part of the picture. The rest of his fundraising apparatus is expected to report updated numbers in April, along with the new Trump 47 committee formed along with the Republican National Committee.

Trump desperately needs money to pay his legal fees and is draining his PAC and spending vast amounts of money on his campaign committee, said Brett Kappel, a longtime campaign finance lawyer who has represented both Republicans and Democrats.

Biden’s campaign, meanwhile, said his political operation raised $53 million last month and ended February with $155 million. That includes Biden’s joint fundraising with the Democratic National Committee. The full picture will not be available until April, when a number of committees in his political operation will submit reports.

His main campaign account raised $21 million in February, according to its latest filing with the FEC, and ended the month with $71 million.

As the party’s presumptive nominee, Trump effectively controls the RNC and his political operation can now benefit from the much higher contribution limits imposed on party committees.

While Although

Candidates can accept a maximum donation of $3,300. Under the joint fundraising agreement, a single donor can sign a check for

just a little more than

$800,000, while a married couple could contribute $1.6 million.

The April 6 fundraiser, which benefits the Trump 47 Committee, lists billionaire investor John Paulson as the host. Co-chairs include Robert Bigelow, a Las Vegas businessman.


businessman who had supported the governor of Florida. Ron DeSantis’ presidential campaign; New York grocery billionaire John Catsimatidis; Linda McMahon, former president of World Wrestling Entertainment and head of the Small Business Administration while Trump was president; casino magnate Steve Wynn; and former U.S. Senator Kelly Loeffler of Georgia.

Guests are asked to contribute $814,600 per person as a Chairman’s Contributor, including seats at Trump’s table, or $250,000 per person as a Host Committee Contributor. Both options include a photo opportunity and a personalized copy of Trump’s coffee table book featuring photos from his administration, “Our Journey Together.”

Three former rivals of Trump for the Republican nomination Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, governor of North Dakota. Doug Burgum and biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy will appear as special guests.

Price writes for the Associated Press. AP writers Brian Slodysko and Aaron Kessler in Washington contributed to this report.


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