Former President Donald Trump is diverting more donations from political supporters to fund his mounting legal costs as multiple court cases put an increased strain on his resources.
Disclosure text on the Trump presidential campaign’s WinRed digital fundraising platform now specifies that 10 per cent of political contributions will go to his legal battles via the Save America PAC.
The other 90 per cent will be used for political campaigning to try to return him to the White House for a second term.
The former president previously took 1 per cent for his legal troubles from political donations.
Mr Trump’s legal issues include his 37-count criminal indictment including violations of the Espionage Act and a sexual abuse civil lawsuit which was recently won by the writer, E Jean Carroll.
The change, first reported by The New York Times, appears to have been made in February or March of 2023, according to archival footage reviewed by the newspaper.
The cost of Mr Trump’s court battles can be seen in Save America PAC’s legal expenditures, which according to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), have ballooned from $1.9million to $14.6m in 2022.
A Trump campaign spokesman declined to comment to the Times on the former president’s legal bills or whether his supporters understood where their donations were going.
The spokesman said that the Save America PAC owns a sizable email list from Trump election campaigns in 2016 and 2020, valuable data that the Trump 2024 bid is essentially leasing from the PAC.
“Because the campaign wants to ensure every dollar donated to President Trump is spent in the most cost-effective manner, a fair-market analysis was conducted to determine email list rentals would be more efficient by amending the fund-raising split between the two entities,” Trump representative Steven Cheung told The Independent.
“This saves money in the long term and is a clear contrast to what Always Back Down has done, which is frivolously waste money in an unethical manner,” he added, a reference to the Never Back Down PAC run by Mr Trump’s primary opponent, Ron DeSantis.
Several members of Mr Trump’s legal team have departed in recent days following his second criminal indictment with little explanation.
Even with an increasing amount of donations being siphoned off for mounting legal expenses, Mr Trump is not expected to face a money crunch any time soon.
Mr Trump remains the frontrunner for the 2024 GOP nomination, and last week, his campaign boasted that it had raised $7m from supporters since news broke of his indictment for allegedly mishandling government secrets.
With the campaign’s new fundraising split, that would mean around $700,000 that could be put towards his legal defence if donations were made through WinRed.
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