Why Trump's Mounting Legal Bills Are Bankrupting His 2024 Campaign

Why Trump's Mounting Legal Bills Are Bankrupting His 2024 Campaign

Former President Donald Trump and Alina Habba, his lawyer in the civil defamation trial

Former President Donald Trump

Former President Donald Trump has already spent more than $50 million in donor contributions on his own legal bills in 2023. Now, his four upcoming criminal trials are threatening to empty out his PAC accounts with still nine months to go before election day.

In a Wednesday article, Bloomberg reported on the ex-president's financial conundrum as the meat of the election season looms in the coming months. The super PAC he's been using to pay his lawyers — MAGA, Inc. — has less than $27 million left, with Trump still having to pay for legal representation for criminal trials in Manhattan, US District Courts in Florida and Washington, DC and in Fulton County, Georgia all while still running a nationwide presidential campaign.

This means that Trump is running out of options to raise the money needed to accomplish both tasks of having legal representation in multiple jurisdictions and running a competitive campaign. He can tap into his existing pool of small donors, or he can raid the Republican National Committee's coffers. However, pursuing either of those avenues will make it even harder for Republicans to catch up to Democrats in the money race in competitive House and Senate races.

"Our mission is straightforward – maximize the Republican Party’s resources to get President Trump elected," Trump senior advisor Chris LaCivita stated.

Trump has so far been able to pay his legal bills using a complex scheme involving transfers and refunds between both MAGA Inc. and Save America, which is another Trump-allied super PAC. MAGA Inc. has reportedly spent 71 cents of every dollar raised in 2023 to pay the former president's legal team.

According to Bloomberg, Save America has, to date, paid out nearly $10 million for Trump's legal expenses under an agreement in which 10% of online contributions will pay for the former president's attorneys. But his campaign and other pro-Trump groups have already spent roughly $14 million more than they've raised, with no sign of those costs slowing down. Trump's super PACs — which can raise unlimited sums of money — are likely to rely more heavily on high-dollar donors like Home Depot founder Bernie Marcus and oil baron Timothy Dunn, who is CEO of Crownquest Operating, LLC.

The former president may also not be able to rely on his own wealth to pay for his lawyers or fund an expensive campaign given the legal judgments he's already facing. A New York jury recently found him liable for defamation, ordering him to pay writer E. Jean Carroll $88.3 million. Judge Arthur Engoron is also expected to hand down his verdict as soon as this week in the civil fraud trial he's been overseeing since last fall. Trump may be ordered to pay as much as $370 million in damages for false financial statements the Trump Organization submitted to state authorities.

[EDITOR'S NOTE: On Feburary 16, Judge Engoron ordered Trump to pay $364 million in civil penalties, plus interest; fined his sons Donald Jr. and Eric Trump $2 million each, and canceled the Trump Organization's New York business certificates for three years.}

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

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