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Trump leadership PAC racks up millions in legal bills amid courtroom fights.

Trump leadership PAC racks up millions in legal bills amid courtroom fights.

Donald Trump’s leadership PAC spent another $5.6 million on legal expenses in February, furthering a trend that has seen the former president put valuable campaign dollars into his courtroom fights.

That leadership PAC, Save America, was kept afloat last month by a $5 million refund from another Trump-related political group, the super PAC Make America Great Again Inc. The latter entity has now sent more than $50 million to Save America since last year to help cover Trump’s many legal costs.

The arrangement raises questions about where Trump will continue to find the money to pay his lawyers. Save America ended the reporting period with just over $4 million in cash on hand. And MAGA Inc. has just $7.75 million more that it can refund the group.

Trump’s actual campaign brought in $10.8 million from his joint fundraising committee, a greater transfer than in January. And it was left with $33.5 million at the end of the month. But that money will be needed to help the former president catch up to Joe Biden, whose campaign enjoys a massive cash advantage.

Days before the Wednesday filing deadline, Biden’s campaign announced the president, Democratic National Committee and joint fundraising committees had raised $53 million in February, giving them $155 million in cash on hand.

Trump runs most of his fundraising operation through a joint fundraising committee that is only required to file reports quarterly, so his campaign and leadership reports portray an incomplete picture of his fundraising and cash reserves. Still, both entities spent the majority of what was transferred to them last month, reflecting the high expenses Trump’s political operation continues to incur.

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While Save America reported spending $5.6 million on legal consulting in February, roughly $1.9 million of that was paying down legal debts from the previous month. The PAC also incurred $530,000 in new legal debt.

Save America also had additional attorneys directly on its payroll, including Christina Bobb — the election conspiracy theorist and former One America News Network host who was recently hired by the RNC as a senior attorney — and Lindsey Halligan, who has represented Trump in the classified documents case.

Also on Save America’s payroll is Walt Nauta, Trump’s body man who was also charged in the case alleging that the former president mishandled classified documents.

His leadership PAC also made a $150,000 contribution to the Article III Project, which is run by Mike Davis, a close ally of Trump. The group has been a key cog in the public relations fight against the litany of charges brought against the former president.

MAGA Inc., the super PAC boosting Trump’s candidacy and refunding Save America, reported raising $12.7 million in February, driven by a $5 million donation from Nevada real estate magnate Robert Bigelow, who formerly backed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s failed presidential bid.

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Other donors to the pro-Trump super PAC in February included two failed former candidates Trump endorsed: former appointed Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.), and 2022 Nebraska gubernatorial candidate Charles Herbster, one of the rare Trump-backed candidates to lose a Republican primary.

Trump’s campaign has been working hard to improve its finances as the general election ramps up. Trump has been courting Republican financiers with events at his Mar-a-Lago club, including multiple events this week. GOP megadonors including billionaire investor John Paulson and Bigelow are hosting a fundraiser for Trump next month, with guests to include hotelier Steve Wynn, oil baron Harold Hamm and sports team owners Todd Ricketts and Woody Johnson.

Trump recently formed a new joint fundraising operation, the Trump 47 Committee, with the campaign, RNC, dozens of state parties. And on Wednesday, the Republican National Committee and the Trump campaign officially launched a joint fundraising committee, Trump National Committee.

February marked the last full month Trump faced a primary challenger, before Nikki Haley dropped out of the race March 6. Haley, the favorite of the traditional Republican donor class, had drawn funds from top political financiers in and out of the party and even outraised Trump in January. Trump will now need to court some of those backers.

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The latest FEC filing comes as Trump imposes changes at the Republican National Committee to merge the party with his own campaign operation. Following a historically low fundraising year at the RNC and Trump’s dissatisfaction with the committee’s efforts to challenge his 2020 election loss, Trump this month installed a new RNC chair, Michael Whatley, and co-chair, his daughter-in-law Lara Trump.

The former president also tapped his campaign’s senior adviser Chris LaCivita to serve as the RNC’s chief of staff, a change that quickly resulted in dozens of firings and other cost-slashing measures at the committee.

Though the general election race will likely be close, Trump’s 2016 campaign showed that the candidate with a cash advantage doesn’t necessarily notch a presidential victory. His Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, outspent him that year, and Republicans are bracing for an onslaught of Democratic cash to be spent in support of Biden.

Trump, meanwhile, is also facing financial straits on a personal level. He told an appellate court in New York on Monday that he can’t find a bond to cover the full amount of a civil fraud judgment of more than $450 million there. He is also relying on his leadership PAC to cover tens of millions of dollars in attorney bills.

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