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Divided We Stand

Divided We Stand
New book about the 2020 election.

Saturday, July 22, 2023

Trump Prosecutions and Legal Bills

Our latest book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics.  The early stages of the 2024 race have begun. 

  Isaac Arnsdorf and Josh Dawsey at WP:

Any distinction between the former president’s White House bid and his criminal defense is vanishing as the charges against him mount. Fighting those prosecutions is increasingly dominating his time, resources and messaging, making the centerpiece of his candidacy an appeal to stay out of prison. As he forges ahead, much of the Republican base appears to be cheering him at each turn.


To illustrate how Trump’s criminal defense is swallowing his campaign, just over half of the money he raised last quarter went not to the campaign itself but to an affiliated PAC that is footing the legal bills. Of more than $35 million raised between March and June, the campaign received $17.7 million, according to the latest report to the Federal Election Commission. The rest went to the Save America PAC, which will report its latest finances on July 31 but has been spending millions on lawyers representing Trump and allies in the multiple ongoing cases, according to FEC disclosures.

A lot of money is going to legal and people who don’t do much, and not a lot is left over to do marketing and advertising,” said one Trump adviser, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal plans. “A lot of the money we’re raising is just going to legal.”

Last month,   Shane Goldmacher and Maggie Haberman reported at NYT:

When Mr. Trump kicked off his 2024 campaign in November, for every dollar raised online, 99 cents went to his campaign, and a penny went to Save America.

But internet archival records show that sometime in February or March, he adjusted that split. Now his campaign’s share has been reduced to 90 percent of donations, and 10 percent goes to Save America.

The effect of that change is potentially substantial: Based on fund-raising figures announced by his campaign, the fine-print maneuver may already have diverted at least $1.5 million to Save America.

And the existence of the group has allowed Mr. Trump to have his small donors pay for his legal expenses, rather than paying for them himself.

The different rules governing what political action committees and candidate campaign committees can pay for are both dizzying and somewhat in dispute. But generally, a PAC cannot spend money directly on the candidate’s campaign, and a campaign committee cannot directly pay for things that benefit the candidate personally.


 There have been signs that Mr. Trump’s campaign has been carefully monitoring its expenses.

He has mainly attended events organized by other groups, as opposed to staging his own large-scale political rallies, which were the lifeblood of his two past runs for president and are one of his favorite parts of campaigning. Those rallies are expensive, costing at least $150,000 and usually more than $400,000.