Thousands of Americans are helping a supposed billionaire pay for his legal bills when they think they’re helping him in his re-election campaign, according to a report in USA Today.
The billionaire in question is Donald Trump (but we’ll say “supposed billionaire” until we see his tax returns), and the news revealed by the paper is that he’s already spent more than 20% of his accumulated campaign war chest on attorney’s fees. The info comes from the filings his reelection committee has submitted to the Federal Election Commission today.
The filings provide a wealth of information to the public about the president’s reelection finance efforts, including the fact that so far this year he’s raised $10.1 million in donations, that when added to what they already had on hand, gives him a fund of more than $28 million to spend towards another term in office.
The report shows that the campaign has spent $834,000 in the first three months of this year alone on legal fees, including $93,000 to Beverly Hills attorney Charles Harder whom Trump hired to try to prevent the publication of the Michael Wolff White House expose The Fire And The Fury in an unsuccessful attempt to avoid the attendant negative publicity. Harder has also been involved in the president’s defense in the suit involving adult film star Stormy Daniels.
Another firm, the New York-based LaRocca, Hornick, Rosen, Greenberg, and Blaha, also worked on the Daniels litigation, earning around $186,000 for their trouble.
In addition to the two firms already mentioned, seven other law firms and the president’s own Trump Organization billed the campaign for “legal consulting” fees. The only legal costs that the campaign fund did not cover so far this year are the fees associated with defending the president in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
Trump stopped using campaign funds for that purpose late last year when he and his supporters set up a separate legal defense fund, The Patriot Legal Defense Fund Trust, to help cover those costs.
This being President Trump, naturally, a significant portion of the funds donated to the campaign went directly int the president’s own pocket, with nearly $150,000 paid to Trump-owned properties for food, lodging, and other expenses despite the existence of federal laws prohibiting the president from personally profiting from his office.
That none of this is particularly surprising demonstrates just how low our expectations have sunk during the Trump presidency. One has to wonder whether the small individual donors to his campaign, much less his billionaire cronies, know or care about how their money is being spent.
As far as the people who can’t wait to see Trump exit the Oval Office are concerned, their response to the news will probably be to urge the president to spend as much of his cash on lawyers as he can, since the campaign coffers won’t be too useful if the president finds himself running for a second term while behind prison bars.
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