HomePoliticsTrump PAC spends more than $3.8 million on legal fees in August

Trump PAC spends more than $3.8 million on legal fees in August

Former President Donald Trump spent more than $3.8 million on “legal consulting” fees in August, the month the FBI searched his home in Mar-a-Lago, according to a campaign finance report from his committee. political action “Save America”.

A large part of the legal payments are going to the attorneys who represent you in the Mar-a-Lago documents case.

The $3,886,999 in legal consulting costs includes a $3 million check written to the law firm of Critton, Luttier & Coleman, LLP on August 30. The firm is based in Palm Beach, Florida, less than three miles from Trump’s Mar-a-Club Lago.

Former Florida Attorney General Chris Kise is not currently listed as one of the firm’s attorneys, but Kise was reportedly paid $3 million up front to represent Trump. according to Politico. Kise was previously a partner at Foley & Lardner, but his ties to the firm were severed when Trump hired him. Kise filed the articles of incorporation with the state of Florida on August 24 and participated in his first appearance for Trump on September 1.

Neither the firm nor Kise responded to CBS News requests for comment on the payment. A Trump spokesman also has not responded to a request for comment.

Save America also paid $207,827 to Habba Madaio & Associates, LLP, the firm of Trump’s attorney, Alina Habba.

Ifrah Law PLLC, Trump’s Law Firm attorney james trusty, received $242,770. The firm of Trump’s attorney, Evan Corcoran, Silverman, Thompson, Slutkin & White, LLC, received $68,413.

Christina Bobb, another member of Trump’s legal team, received $12,051 in payroll payments from the PAC.

Save America PAC has also made payments to several attorneys in other legal cases involving Trump, including the Fulton County District Attorney’s investigation into whether Trump and his allies illegally attempted to nullify the 2020 presidential election.

Atlanta-based criminal defense attorney Drew Findling Law Firm received $91,209 from the PAC. Findling, a former Trump critic, is representing Trump in the Fulton County case.

Timothy Parlatore’s firm received $29,870.54 from the PAC in August. Parlatore is a lawyer who represented Republican candidate for Governor of Pennsylvania Doug Mastriano during his brief appearance before the House committee investigating the January 6 attack on the US Capitol.

While another committee, the Save America Joint Fundraising Committee, is the primary fundraising vehicle for the former president, the Save America PAC still has the majority of Trump’s cash on hand. The PAC reported $92.7 million in cash on hand at the end of August and more than $6 million spent.

The joint fundraising committee will report what it raised from June through August in its mid-October report.

Trump’s PAC, which bills itself as a “leadership PAC” to support other candidates, donated $150,000 to the “Wyoming Values ​​PAC” in August, a group that opposes Wyoming Republican Rep. Liz Cheney, who he lost his re-election race to a Trump-backed candidate. , Harriet Hageman.

Throughout the year, the PAC has made more than $7.2 million in contributions to other federal or state campaigns. By comparison, the PAC has also spent $7,555,168.09 on event fees for Trump’s numerous rallies for candidates.

If Trump runs for president

Trump’s large war chest has raised questions about what would happen if he announced he would run for president in 2024. Erin Chlopak, senior director of campaign finance at the Campaign Legal Center, said if Trump decides to run, he would have to. create a committee of candidates. Money from his leadership PAC cannot be transferred directly to this candidate committee, which would have tighter restrictions on how much he can raise compared to a leadership PAC. Save America would remain a leadership PAC.

In practical terms, money from Trump’s leadership PAC could not be used to campaign if he announces a presidential bid. Up to this point, he has been able to use the Save America PAC funds for the rallies he organizes for other candidates, and since he is not a candidate himself at this time, FEC rules allow it.

Trump could also likely argue that the existing leadership PAC funds he has on hand can still be used for his legal expenses, even if he becomes a candidate.

Chlopak said that while leadership PACs should not be used for “personal expenses” such as personal legal bills, the FEC has not subjected leadership PACs to those rules.

“We routinely see leadership PACs being used essentially as kickback funds for the personal piggy banks of office holders. And that has been a real concern, obviously, with a Trump-led PAC that has successfully raised so much money. properties or to pay family members or other expenses, that would not be allowed if it was an official campaign fund,” Chlopak said.

But Chlopak said that if Trump declares a 2024 candidacy and has to start another candidate committee, the FEC would be stricter about using campaign funds to pay more personal legal fees. She said they would look at it on a case-by-case basis as to whether it counts as “personal.”

Whether it can use candidate committee funds to pay expenses such as legal fees related to the search for Mar-a-Lago documents is up to the FEC’s discretion, Chlopak said.

“The legal standard is whether there would be personal expense, regardless of the candidate, such as a divorce proceeding or a traffic ticket. The answer to whether that applies to the [Mar-a-Lago case] It is a close decision, since it is intertwined with his condition as president,” he said.

“It’s a remarkable amount of money that has been raised so far, so I think we’re all just waiting to see what’s going to happen,” he added.

Melissa Quinn contributed to this report.

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