Former President Donald Trump and his affiliated committees shelled out approximately $27 million for legal fees in the last six months of 2023, as revealed by recent federal election filings.
This hefty expenditure brings the total legal bill for the year, which witnessed four separate indictments, to nearly $50 million. Trump’s intricate political fundraising machinery has been working overtime, but the escalating legal costs are evidently impacting the finances of the leading GOP presidential candidate.
One of Trump’s major fundraising vehicles, the Save America PAC, allocated $24.3 million for “legal consulting” in the latter half of 2023. These funds were disbursed to various law firms, including those representing Trump in crucial cases, such as the attempt to overturn the 2020 election and the New York hush money case. Notable lawyers like John Lauro, Todd Blanche, and Alina Habba have featured prominently in Trump’s legal defense. Despite raising $36 million in the last six months, Save America PAC ended the year with only $5 million in cash reserves, after spending nearly as much as it raised.
Another Trump-associated group, the Make America Great Again PAC, spent an additional $2.4 million on legal consulting in the latter part of 2023. With Save America PAC primarily shouldering Trump’s legal fees, it seems the MAGA PAC’s contributions have largely been returned. In the first half of 2023, Save America PAC received over $12 million from MAGA Inc. Overall, Trump’s legal expenses in the first half of the year exceeded $20 million.
Aside from these political action committees, a separate entity called the Patriot Legal Defense Fund raised over $1.6 million between July and December 2023. It is noteworthy that this fund is distinct and doesn’t contribute to Trump’s personal legal costs. The financial strain of Trump’s legal battles, which include criminal cases and a civil fraud lawsuit related to his business, is becoming increasingly apparent. This situation not only impacts Trump’s campaign trail activities but also raises concerns from political rivals like Nikki Haley, who has criticized Trump for allocating significant time and money to legal matters.
Trump’s legal challenges continue to be a dominating factor in his post-presidential life, diverting attention and resources that could have been directed towards political campaigns. As the legal saga unfolds, it remains to be seen how Trump’s financial and political standing will be further affected.