Trump Campaign Raises $10.1 Million as Legal Matters Grow
(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump continues to raise money at an unprecedented rate in his turbulent first 15 months in office while allowing his campaign committee to help pick up the tab for some of his legal battles.
Trump’s campaign raised $10.1 million in this year’s first quarter, a federal filing shows. The committee reported having $28.3 million in the bank at the end of March, according to the Sunday filing with the Federal Election Commission.
Two other committees that raise money for Trump’s campaign and the Republican National Committee reported raising $16.7 million in the same period.
It’s unusual for a sitting president to raise money for re-election early in his term as aggressively as Trump has done. Former President Barack Obama had been in office more than two years before he headlined his first re-election fundraiser. Former President George W. Bush raised $268,423 in his first two years in office, FEC records show.
Trump’s campaign reported payments of $834,669 for legal consulting, its filing shows. Jones Day, its main legal counsel, receiving the most billings, some $347,813.
The campaign paid two firms that are representing Michael Cohen, Trump’s personal attorney, in the lawsuit over a nondisclosure agreement with an adult entertainment star who claims she had an affair with Trump in 2006. Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, is suing to have the nondisclosure agreement invalidated.
The campaign’s filings list the spending’s purpose with the firms as legal consulting, without greater specificity. It paid $186,279 to LaRocca Hornik Rosen Greenberg and Blaha LLP. One of its partners, Larry Rosen, represents Trump in the Daniels matter, according to a report from ABC News. The firm previously received payments from the campaign totaling $30,500 in October and November, an earlier filing shows.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation on April 9 raided the office, home and hotel room of Cohen, long known as a fixer for Trump’s business and personal endeavors. Agents also seized the content of a safety deposit box and two of his cell phones.
Prosecutors said in a Friday court hearing that Cohen has been the target of a months-long federal investigation in New York, separate from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of Russian interference in the U.S. elections. Cohen’s attorneys were seeking an emergency stay to prevent prosecutors from examining materials that they claimed may have included tens of thousands of privileged communications between Cohen and his clients.
Trump’s campaign also paid $93,181 to Harder LLP, which specializes in entertainment law and reputation protection. The firm’s name partner, Charles Harder, is also representing Cohen in the Daniels litigation.
In January, Harder wrote the cease-and-desist letter sent to former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon. In the letter, Harder said Bannon’s comments in Michael Wolff’s book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” violated a nondisclosure agreement Bannon had signed when he joined the campaign in 2016.
The joint fundraising committees that benefit Trump’s campaign and the Republican National Committee transferred $6.6 million to Trump’s campaign in the first quarter. Trump Victory, which focuses on big donors, reported raising $6.5 million.
Trump Make America Great Again Committee, which raises most of its money from donors giving $200 or less, raised $10.2 million. Those small-dollar donors gave $8.7 million of that amount.
The joint fundraising committees ended March with $15.9 million in the bank, according to their FEC filings.
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