Authored by Austin Alonzo via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),
Former President Donald Trump used more than $47 million in campaign funds to cover legal expenses in 2023, according to new disclosures filed with the Federal Election Commission.
On Jan. 31, two groups associated with President Trump, Save America and Make America Great Again Inc., paid out more than 350 different transactions to more than 50 law firms, consultancies, and individuals for legal services and consulting.
In the first six months of the year, Save America paid about $25.7 million for various legal services. In the second six months, it paid $21.4 million.
Over the whole year, Make America Great Again Inc. paid out about $223,000.
MAGA Inc. is a super political action committee. It can solicit from and make unlimited contributions to individuals, corporations, labor unions, and other political committees, according to the FEC. It is unauthorized, meaning it cannot cooperate directly with the candidate.
Save America is a qualified leadership political action committee. That, according to the regulator, means it is “directly or indirectly established, financed, maintained or controlled by a candidate or an individual holding federal office, but is not an authorized committee of the candidate or officeholder and is not affiliated with an authorized committee of a candidate or officeholder.”
In its full-year filing with the FEC, Save America reported it raised about $52.3 million in total in 2023. Save America said that it had about $5.1 million in cash at the end of December 2023.
All told, legal expenses account for about 73 percent of the about $65.4 million in total disbursements Save America made in 2023.
MAGA Inc. is a key funder of Save America. In the second half of the year, according to its disclosure forms, it sent $35 million to Save America in what it called “contribution refunds.” In the first half of the year, it sent $12.25 million to Save America in similar transactions, according to its disclosure forms.
For its part, Save America transferred $11.75 million to MAGA Inc. in what it called transfers to an affiliated committee in 2023.
President Trump’s principal campaign committee, according to regulatory forms filed on Wednesday evening, raised more than $79.6 million in 2023. It spent about $93.3 million and reported to the FEC it held $33 million on hand.
President Trump faces numerous legal challenges in federal court as well as charges in New York, Georgia, and Florida. Most recently, a New York jury ordered him to pay writer E. Jean Carroll $83 million in damages related to a defamation suit.
Despite his legal difficulties, which President Trump has repeatedly called politically motivated attacks, he is still the leading candidate to win the Republican Party’s 2024 presidential nomination.
President Trump won the Republican Party of Iowa’s Caucus on Jan. 15 and New Hampshire’s Republican presidential primary on Jan. 23. He’s knocked out numerous rivals who have since gone on to endorse him or campaign with him.
The lone remaining primary challenger seeking the nomination, Nikki Haley, is planning on staying in the race through so-called Super Tuesday on March 5. According to her filings, the former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N.’s fundraising bodies collected more than $100 million in 2023.
On Feb. 1, a PAC backing her bid for the White House, SFA Fund Inc., pounced on reports of President Trump’s continued use of campaign funds to pay legal bills.
A release from SFA said his regulatory filings are evidence of “mismanagement and wasteful spending.”
“Just as he added $8 trillion to our national debt as president, Trump’s decision to fund his ongoing court cases on the backs of blue-collar workers across America rather than using his own billions is just a reminder that his top priority will always be his own comfort,” Preya Samsundar, a spokesperson for SFA, said in a release.
SFA Fund is a hybrid PAC. It can solicit and accept unlimited contributions from individuals, corporations, labor unions, and other political committees, according to the FEC. It must maintain two bank accounts—one for independent spending on advertisements or voter drives and another for making direct contributions to federal candidates.
President Trump and Ms. Haley, who was governor of the Palmetto State from January 2011 to January 2017, will face off in the South Carolina Republican presidential primary on Feb. 24.