Donald J. Trump’s legal problems aren’t just piling up — his legal bills are, too.
New financial reports show that the former president’s various political committees and the super PAC backing him have used roughly 30 cents of every dollar spent so far this year on legal-related costs. The total amounts to more than $27 million in legal fees and other investigation-related bills in the first six months of 2023, according to a New York Times analysis of federal records.
That $27 million in legal costs includes Mr. Trump paying at least eight law firms more than $1 million each in the first half of 2023, part of a sizable set of legal billings expected to spiral upward in the coming months as his overlapping criminal cases wind their way toward courtrooms in New York, Florida and Washington, D.C.
The new disclosures revealed the remarkable degree to which Mr. Trump’s political and legal cash are intermingled, much like his own political and legal fate.
Mr. Trump’s complex political orbit is already spending more than it is taking in, and tapping into money it raised years ago — an unusual trajectory this far out from an election. And the burn rate raises questions about whether such an approach is untenable, or whether Mr. Trump will eventually need to dip into his own fortune to pay for his lawyers, his 2024 campaign or both.
It is a step that the famously tightfisted Mr. Trump has resisted taking, even as his advisers have begun planning behind the scenes for a potential political cash crunch months before the primaries begin.
Mr. Trump is not known for long-term planning, so it remains unclear how much he has focused on the intricate challenges of financing his campaign in the coming months. Some close to him say they are reassured by the fact that if he becomes the presidential nominee again, he can rely on the Republican Party to provide financial support.
“President Trump continues to be the campaign fund-raising leader due to the support from voters who recognize this as an illegal witch-hunt,” said Steven Cheung, a spokesman for Mr. Trump, in a statement. “As President Trump has said, he will spend whatever it takes to defeat the Deep State and Crooked Joe Biden.”
All told, the political committees that Mr. Trump directly controls, along with the independently operated super PAC devoted exclusively to helping him, are spending more than they raised so far in 2023 — largely because of his legal expenditures, the filings show.
Those entities brought in $67.2 million in new donations in the first half of the year and spent about $90 million in the same period. Most of the money that went to legal fees did not come from new donations, the records show. Save America, the PAC doing the bulk of the legal spending, raised much of its funds in the aftermath of the 2020 election and plunged $16 million into legal expenses in 2022. It’s nearly been bled dry. [Continue reading…]