Spending on Donald Trump’s Save America PAC jumped in August to more than $6.3 million – its highest monthly total of the year – as the former president fought court battles over the raid by the FBI from his resort town of Mar-a-Lago in Florida.
More than $3.8 million of that money — or more than $6 out of $10 spent by Trump’s PAC leadership last month — went to legal costs, according to documents filed Tuesday night with the Commission. federal election. The largest legal expense was a one-time payment of $3 million to the trust account of a law firm in West Palm Beach, Florida.
CNN previously reported that the PAC advanced Trump’s attorney, Chris Kise, an upfront payment of $3 million to cover the former Florida solicitor general’s legal fees.
The PAC’s post-election fundraising has come under scrutiny in recent weeks. CNN reported earlier this month that a federal grand jury issued subpoenas seeking information about Save America’s formation, fundraising and spending.
Leadership PACs, fundraising tools to help politicians support other candidates, operate under looser rules than committees tied to active candidates — giving Trump latitude to use donor money to his personal expenses if he wishes. The PAC’s spending on legal fees in August was four times what it spent on legal fees the previous month – as the former president, who has not been charged with a crime, faces growing legal problems.
The new documents show Save America made a large federal contribution last month, sending $150,000 Aug. 3 to Wyoming Values — a super PAC that worked to defeat one of Trump’s top targets, Rep. Wyoming. GOP Liz Cheney.
Cheney, one of Trump’s fiercest critics on Capitol Hill, lost the Republican primary to Trump-backed Harriet Hageman on August 16.
Trump’s PAC entered September with more than $92 million in cash reserves, according to new deposits — one of the healthiest bank accounts in GOP politics. By comparison, the Republican National Senate Committee — the fundraising arm of the GOP tasked with overthrowing the Senate — began September and sprinted through Election Day with just $16 million left in the bank.
Trump has faced public pressure to provide more financial aid to Republican Senate candidates, some of whom are struggling to compete financially with their Democratic rivals ahead of the November general election. In Arizona, for example, Trump-endorsed political newcomer Blake Masters had raised nearly $5 million through the end of June, according to the latest candidate filings, while Senator Mark Kelly, the Democrat that he is trying to overthrow, had raised $54 million.
In an email to CNN Tuesday night, Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich said the former president “has been completely invested in seeing his endorsed candidates win.”
And he said Trump’s frequent rallies for candidates “serve as the most potent political weapon in American politics” and “bring in new voters and invaluable media attention that propel candidates to victory on Election Day.” .
Trump is due to hold a rally on Friday in Wilmington, North Carolina, to support his list of approved candidates there.
But some Republican strategists question the value of those events after a recent rally in Ohio, where Trump rudely mocked the candidate he endorsed for the US Senate contest, GOP nominee JD Vance, as desperate. of his support.
Most contestants would “much rather have someone show up with a lot of money to get your point across, than a one-day event where you can’t control what the main attraction is going to say,” said said Doug Heye, a veteran. Republican strategist and former Republican National Committee spokesman.
With control of the Senate at stake, deep-pocketed Republican groups have stepped up to fill the void, including the Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC affiliated with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. He has pledged to spend more than $185 million on Senate contests. (The McConnell-aligned super PAC announced on Tuesday that it was pulling its remaining ad reservations for October out of Arizona, citing increased spending by other Republican groups, including Our American Century.)
New documents filed with the Federal Election Commission show that Las Vegas casino magnate Steve Wynn donated $10 million to Our American Century last month.
That committee has spent nearly $7 million in key states — including advertising to help Republican Mehmet Oz run for the Senate in Pennsylvania and to oppose several Democratic senators seeking re-election.