Trump’s PAC spends over $3.8 million on legal fees in August

Former President Donald Trump spent more than $3.8 million in “legal advice” in August after the FBI raided his Mar-a-Lago estate, according to campaign finance reports from his “Save America” ​​PAC. that month.

Most legal payments are Go to the attorney representing him in the Mar-a-Lago papers case.

The $3,886,999 fee for legal advice includes a $3 million check dated Aug. 30 to the law firm of Critton, Luttier & Coleman, LLP. The company is located in Palm Beach, Florida, less than 3 miles from Trump’s Mar-a-. Largo Club.

Former Florida Attorney General Chris Keith is not currently listed as one of the firm’s lawyers, but Keith reportedly paid $3 million upfront to represent Trump, according to politics. Kise was previously a partner at Foley & Lardner, but his ties to the firm were severed after he was hired by Trump. Kise filed its articles of incorporation with Florida on Aug. 24 and made his Trump debut on Sept. 1.

Neither the company nor Kise responded to CBS News’ requests for comment on the payment. A spokesman for Trump also did not respond to a request for comment.

Save America also paid $207,827 to Habba Madaio & Associates, LLP, the firm of Trump attorney Alina Habba.

Trump’s company Ifrah Law PLLC James Trust Attorney, received $242,770. Silverman, Thompson, Slutkin & White, LLC, the firm of Trump attorney Evan Corcoran, received $68,413.

Christina Bobb, another member of Trump’s legal team, received a payroll of $12,051 from the PAC.

Save America PAC also paid several attorneys in other legal cases involving Trump, including the Fulton County District Attorney’s investigation into whether Trump and his allies were unlawfully trying to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

The law firm of Atlanta-based criminal defense attorney Drew Findling received $91,209 from the PAC. Former Trump critic Findlin represented Trump in the Fulton County case.

Timothy Parlatore’s company received $29,870.54 from the PAC in August. Parlatore is a lawyer Representing Pennsylvania Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano He made a brief appearance before a House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

While another committee, the Save America Joint Ways and Means Committee, was the former president’s primary fundraising vehicle, the Save America PAC still holds most of Trump’s cash on hand. At the end of August, the PAC reported $92.7 million in cash on hand and spending of more than $6 million.

The Joint Ways and Means Committee will report on the funds it raised from June to August in its mid-October report.

Trump’s PAC, known as a “leadership PAC” supporting other candidates, donated $150,000 in August to the “Wyoming Values ​​PAC,” a group opposed to Wyoming Republican Rep. Liz Cheney, who is running for re-election Lost to Trump-backed candidate, Harriet Hagman.

Throughout the year, the PAC contributed more than $7.2 million to other federal or state campaigns. By comparison, the PAC also spent $7,555,168.09 in event costs for numerous Trump candidate rallies.

If Trump runs for president

Trump’s massive funding has raised questions about what would happen if he announced he would run for president in 2024. If Trump decides to run, he will have to run, said Erin Chlopak, senior director of campaign finance at the Campaign Law Center. Form a candidate committee. His leadership PAC money cannot be transferred directly to this candidate committee, which places tighter limits on how much money he can raise than a leadership PAC. Saving America will remain a leadership PAC.

In fact, if Trump announces his presidential bid, his leadership PAC funds cannot be used for the campaign. So far, he has been able to use Save America PAC funds for his rallies for other candidates, and since he himself is not a candidate right now, FEC rules allow it.

Trump could also make the argument that the existing leadership PAC funds he has on hand could still be used for his legal expenses, even if he does become a candidate.

Chlopak said that while lead PACs should not be used for “personal expenses,” such as personal legal bills, the FEC doesn’t make lead PACs abide by those rules.

“We often see leading PACs that are basically like bribe funds used for a public official’s personal piggy bank. Obviously​​, this has been a real concern, and the Trump-led PAC has managed to raise so much A lot of money. That money was used for his property or to pay family members or other expenses, which would not be allowed if it were official campaign funds,” Chlopak said.

But Clopack said the Federal Election Commission would use campaign funds more strictly to cover more personal legal costs if Trump announced his candidacy in 2024 and had to create another candidate committee. She said they would consider whether it counts as an “individual” on a case-by-case basis.

Whether he can use candidate committee funds to cover costs such as legal fees related to the Mar-a-Lago document search is at the discretion of the Federal Election Commission, Clopack said.

“The legal criterion is whether personal expenses exist regardless of the candidate – such as divorce proceedings or traffic tickets. Does the answer apply to [Mar-a-Lago case] It was a close call because it was intertwined with his status as president,” she said.

“So far, there’s been a lot of money raised, so I think we’re all waiting to see what happens,” she added.

Melissa Que contributed to this report.

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