Trump committee nearly broke and other key takeaways from campaign filings

Donald Trump’s joint fundraising committee raised $53.9 million during the first half of this year for his presidential campaign — an enviable haul that speaks to the enthusiasm of his donors and dwarfs the sums raised by his GOP rivals.

But Trump’s political committees are burning through cash as he grapples with his mounting legal bills, according to campaign disclosures filed with the Federal Election Commission Monday night. Here are a few takeaways from the new disclosures filed with the FEC:

Trump remains in a commanding position, with a New York Times/Siena College poll released Monday showing the former president leading the field with the backing of 54 percent of likely Republican voters. But reports filed on Monday show that some of his committees are spending about as much money as they are taking in. Though his joint fundraising committee raised $53.9 million over the first six months of the year, it spent more than $52 million over the same period, the reports show.

Trump’s Save America leadership PAC, which had more than $100 million at the beginning of last year, now has about $3.6 million in cash on hand after it became the vehicle used to pay millions of dollars in legal bills for the former president, his aides and his associates. As Trump fights federal and state investigations, his advisers have told The Washington Post that the PAC has been handling the legal bills for almost anyone drawn into the investigations if they ask Trump and his advisers for help.

Trump’s legal entanglements are putting a considerable strain on his war chest, which has been bolstered by scores of small-dollar donors across the country — many of whom share his view that he is being unfairly persecuted by his political opponents. A portion of the money raised by the Trump campaign’s joint fundraising committee goes to the Save America leadership PAC. Earlier this year, Trump’s advisers upped the percentage of each contribution that is directed to the leadership PAC giving them more leverage to pay bills.

The reports filed on Monday night show Trump officials moving money among the different fundraising entities in his orbit to ease that financial strain. The Save America leadership PAC recently asked for a refund on a large contribution the group had previously made to another PAC supporting Trump. That development was first reported by the New York Times.

Monday night’s filings show that Trump’s super PAC, Make America Great Again Inc., reported that it had raised more than $13 million over the first six months of this year and had about $30 million in cash on hand at the end of the reporting period.

But the group issued a $12.2 million refund to the Save America leadership PAC, which was reflected on the mid-year report.

The super PACs supporting the 2024 GOP presidential candidates were required to file their mid-year reports to the FEC by midnight on Monday — offering a more in-depth look at the top financial backers of the White House hopefuls and a few hints about which groups may be well funded enough to help their candidates go the distance in the battle for the nomination.

The super PAC supporting Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Never Back Down, boasted nearly $97 million in cash on hand at the end of June to support its expansive field and advertising program as DeSantis tries to reboot his struggling campaign. The outside group has taken on many of the duties that would normally be shouldered by the campaign. Much of the $130 million that the group raised from the beginning of the year came from an $82.5 million transfer from the governor’s former Florida political operation that allowed it to build a team of more than 121 people and a contract workforce of about 240 canvassers who work out of 11 offices across the country.

A super PAC supporting Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina reported raising $19.3 million with about $15 million in cash on hand.

The sums raised by the super PACs supporting lower-polling candidates like former vice president Mike Pence and former New Jersey governor Chris Christie were far lower, reflecting the difficulty they may face in the months ahead. The group backing Pence, Committed to America PAC, raised about $2.7 million and has about $1.8 million in cash on hand. The Tell It Like it Is super PAC supporting Christie raised more than $5.8 million and had about $5.5 million in cash on hand at the end of the period.

Though Trump’s growing legal jeopardy has contributed to a strain on cash for the Save America PAC that has been handling many of his legal bills, that committee still found the funds to pay Melania Trump’s former stylist. The committee reported payments of $108,000 to designer Herve Pierre Braillard for “strategy consulting” during the first six months of this year.

Dylan Freedman contributed this report.

This post appeared first on The Washington Post