Politics

Trump's RNC deal prioritizes PAC in paying its lawyers

The new fundraising deal shared between former President Donald J. Trump and the Republican National Committee directs a portion of donations to the political account he used to pay his legal fees before the money goes to the left himself.

The order in which the entities will receive funds from big donors through the so-called Trump 47 Committee was disclosed in the fine print of an invitation to a big dinner next month in Palm Beach, in Florida, where major donors are invited to contribute. at $814,600 per participating person.

The invitation says the first $6,600 paid will go to Mr. Trump's campaign. The next $5,000 will go to his Save America PAC, which has paid more than $50 million in legal and investigative fees for Mr. Trump in 2023. The $5,000 amount is the maximum federal rules can allow an individual to contribute to Save America. .

After that, the RNC receives the next $413,000, followed by dozens of state parties.

In practice, this means that even modest contributors — anything over $6,600 — will fund the account Mr. Trump used to cover legal costs. And the fundraising deal came as Save America, which has spent an average of about $5 million a month on legal payments for Mr. Trump and witnesses in his cases, is on the brink of running out of funds to the end of spring.

The priority given to Mr. Trump's Save America PAC before the Republican National Committee was first reported by Associated Press.

The new fundraising deal comes shortly after Mr. Trump officially took over the RNC as the presumptive Republican nominee. He pushed to install a new president, Michael Whatley, and have his daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, as co-president.

One of Mr. Trump's two co-campaign managers, Chris LaCivita, has lobbied massive layoffs in the middle of a top-to-bottom restructuring.

Mr. Trump begins the general election ahead of President Biden in the polls, but behind him in terms of campaign cash flow. Mr. Biden and his joint party operations reported $155 million in cash at the end of February. The Trump campaign said it had $42 million in its accounts, while the RNC reported another $11.3 million.

The invitation to the April 6 dinner, which the New York Times previously announced should raise $25 million, listed a number of familiar names as co-chairs. Those people included Robert Bigelow, a former Ron DeSantis supporter who gave $5 million to Mr. Trump’s super PAC in February; Kelly Loeffler, the former senator from Georgia; Linda McMahon, former Trump cabinet official and top Trump donor; and Rebekah Mercer, who had been a key supporter of Mr. Trump in 2016.

The nature of such a dinner for megadonors is that most of the funds will always go to the party. But for a smaller event with, say, a $25,000 attendance price, a much larger share under the deal would go to Mr. Trump's PAC.

Trump officials have pushed away angrily on suggestions that the RNC would cover Mr. Trump's personal legal fees. The new arrangement allows Mr. Trump to tap funds from larger donors for his legal affairs without the money going through the RNC.

These joint fundraising deals are the norm in presidential politics. Mr. Biden has one with the Democratic National Committee and state parties that allows him to raise money in equally large increments.

What is unusual in Mr. Trump's case is that the candidate has a PAC included in the deal that is used to fund legal fees. Save America ended February with $4 million in the bank and about $500,000 in debt. He spent $7.2 million last month, with nearly $5.6 million labeled as legal fees and $400,000 transferred to another account that also paid legal fees.

Mr. Trump is already direct 10 percent of every dollar he raises online to his PACa share he increased from 1 percent at the start of his presidential campaign.

A spokesperson for Mr. Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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