Joint Committee Allows Trump to Raise Money for Legal Bills, Huge Checks for RNC

David Walter Banks for The Washington Post
Donald Trump speaks to supporters in Rome, Ga., this month.

New Federal Election Commission filings this week illustrated the tremendous burden that former president Donald Trump’s legal bills have placed on his operation, but he has a new vehicle to help him raise money for the Save America political action committee that has handled many of those legal costs.

The Trump 47 Committee – established through negotiations between the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee – is a joint fundraising vehicle that can raise hundreds of thousands of dollars from donors and distribute that money to the Trump campaign, Save America, the RNC and at least 39 state committees, according to a document filed with the FEC on March 19.

The joint fundraising agreement turns on the spigots to create a much-needed cash infusion for the RNC, which has trailed the Democratic National Committee in its fundraising. But the fact that Save America, Trump’s PAC, will also benefit from the checks cut to the joint fundraising committee is likely to raise concerns for donors who don’t want their campaign donations directed to Trump’s legal bills.

The Trump 47 Committee can raise up to $814,600, according to a donor form obtained by The Washington Post – and the joint fundraising agreement outlines where each dollar is allocated sequentially down to the last dollar of each contribution.

The donor form shows that the first $3,300 of each donation will be directed to the Trump for President primary election account; the next $3,300 will go to his general election account; the next $5,000 will go to Save America and the next $413,000 is directed to the RNC. The remaining dollars up to $814,600 will be directed in various amounts to the local Republican Party in 39 states.

Chris LaCivita, a top adviser to Trump who is overseeing the integration of the campaign and the RNC operations, has said the committee will not pay any of Trump’s legal bills.

Trump, the first former president to face criminal charges, has been indicted in four cases and denied wrongdoing in each one. Save America has faced a cash crunch – spending more money in February than it took in, according to reports filed Wednesday with the FEC.

The committee reported about $4 million in cash on hand at the end of February. It spent about $7 million over the same period, including $5.6 million paid to lawyers. Since the start of this year, Save America has spent $8.5 million and the Trump campaign has spent $1.8 million on legal bills.

Trump has used the charges against him as a rallying cry to galvanize his supporters – accusing Democrats and President Biden of weaponizing the powers of the Justice Department against him. (Biden has said he has not suggested to the Justice Department what it should or should not do regarding charges.) Previously, the former president had structured his joint fundraising account so that each time a donor contributed a dollar to the campaign, 10 cents was directed to Save America and 90 cents was allocated to the Trump presidential campaign.