How Trump has Funded His $100 Million in Legal Bills

How Trump has Funded His $100 Million in Legal Bills

According to a New York Times review of federal records, former President Donald J. Trump has spent more than $100 million since leaving office in 2021 on legal and other costs related to defending various investigations, indictments and his pending criminal proceedings.

The remarkable sum means Mr Trump has averaged more than $90,000 a day in legal costs for more than three years – none of which he paid for with his own money.

Instead, the former president has relied almost exclusively on donations to fight the results of the 2020 election.

Now those accounts are nearly depleted, and Mr. Trump is faced with a choice: either start paying his sizable legal fees himself or find another way to fund them.

November 2020 to early 2021

Mr. Trump raised a staggering $254 million online from November 4, 2020, the day after the election, until President Biden’s inauguration on January 20, 2021, as he called on his supporters to create an “Election Defense Fund.”

The donations came so quickly that on November 9, Mr. Trump created a new political action committee called Save America to house all the money.

However, only a fraction of the money went to recounts and other legal challenges to the election. Some reached out to Mr. Trump’s lawyers during his second impeachment trial related to the Jan. 6 riots.

But Mr. Trump has put much of the money in the bank.

Rest of 2021

Mr. Trump began using the money to fund his post-presidency political activities and what would eventually become his sprawling legal teams. In February, Trump renamed his 2020 committee the MAGA PAC.

By the end of 2021, Save America, which continued to bring in new donations, held a significant portion of Mr. Trump’s fundraising: $105 million.


Both Save America and MAGA PAC spent significantly on legal fees and other related expenses in 2022. The House of Representatives held its impeachment hearings. The FBI searched Mar-a-Lago in August for missing classified information. Mr. Trump’s legal fees have increased.

Mr. Trump spent about $27.2 million on legal fees during the year.

As Mr. Trump prepared to announce his 2024 candidacy in late 2022, he faced a dilemma: His PAC could not directly spend money to elect him president. So Save America transferred $60 million to a pro-Trump super PAC called MAGA Inc.


Save America started 2023 with $18.3 million. But Mr. Trump’s legal fees were about to skyrocket. He was first charged in March 2023 in New York. Three more charges followed.

Mr. Trump spent nearly $60 million on legal and investigative costs – including his lawyers, a document production company and an expert witness in Trump’s New York civil fraud case.

Early last year, Mr. Trump made a change to put more money into Save America, the PAC that paid his legal costs. Initially, one cent of every dollar he raised online went to Save America; the rest went to his 2024 campaign. But because Save America didn’t have enough money to pay lawyers, he increased that amount to 10 percent.

It still wasn’t enough. As of June 2023, Save America had less than $4 million. In an unusual move, Mr. Trump demanded that his super PAC refund the $60 million it gave just months earlier so that Save America could continue to pay its legal costs.

As of the end of 2023, more than $42 million had been returned to Save America by his super PAC.


As his first trial loomed — in the New York case involving hush-money payments to a porn star in 2016 — Mr. Trump’s legal fees continued to mount. He spent at least $9.7 million in January and February.

The more than $100 million in legal expenses since he left office does not include spending by Mr. Trump’s 2024 campaign, which has not paid his personal legal fees.

To cover ongoing legal costs, his super PAC reimbursed another $10 million in January and February. But now there is only $7.75 million left to refund. Save America had less than $4 million at the end of February, including unpaid debts.

The Trump team said the Republican National Committee would not pay its legal bills. But his new joint fundraising agreement with the party calls for a portion of donations to be funneled to his Save America PAC before the party itself.

Still, at the current pace of spending, the account that pays Mr. Trump’s legal fees will most likely run out of money by the summer.

Then Mr. Trump has to decide: How much money will he use to pay his lawyers?


Data comes from filings made with the FEC since 2020 for: Trump’s 2020 Campaign Committee (which was renamed the Make America Great Again PAC); Trump’s 2024 Campaign Committee; the leadership of the Save America PAC; the super PAC Make America Great Again Inc.; the Trump Make America Great Again Committee and Trump Save America Joint Fundraising Committee; the fundraising platform WinRed.

Legal costs were determined from all expenses associated with the term “legal” as well as certain expenses with the terms “document” and “research” that were proven to be related to ongoing legal cases and investigations. The 2024 figure includes Save America’s 2024 legal debt, which was outstanding at the end of February.

Annual donations were calculated online donations reported by WinRed to the 2020 and 2024 Trump campaigns, Trump-affiliated leadership committees, and Trump-controlled joint fundraising committees.

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2024-03-27 19:48:15