According to new financial reports from the Trump campaign filed with the Federal Election Commission, the campaign apparatus of the now ex-president spent far more on advertising and fundraising in the aftermath of the election than it did on the actual legal fight that Trump and his allies waged against the election outcome. In other words, in terms of the Trump campaign’s spending, the Trump team’s priorities were clear: they focused on a public relations campaign in which they raised huge sums of cash. Between the two of them, Trump and the Republican Party had over $175 million on hand at the end of the final 2020 reporting period, meaning that their lie-riddled public relations campaign was profitable.
The revelation provides a grim undertone to the lies about the presidential election from Trump and his allies that culminated in the deadly rioting at the U.S. Capitol on January 6. In a quite literal sense, Trump and top Republicans were making money off the lies in the form of donations from the now ex-president’s supporters. As a part of this money-making operation, Trump and some of his allies claimed that the presidential election was rigged against him in favor of Biden, but no court anywhere in the country ever accepted this idea. Nevertheless, Trump continued pushing the lie, and on January 6, a mob of his supporters stormed the Capitol under the pretense of this lie and tried to stop the Congressional proceedings to certify the electoral college outcome and Biden’s victory.
In his Save America PAC, which formed shortly after the presidential election last November, Trump had some $31 million at the start of the year, while the Republican National Committee had over $80 million on hand as of the same point. Meanwhile, some $63 million sat across two accounts shared by the Trump team and Republican Party, and some of this money is slated for Trump. According to The New York Times, Trump’s PAC is “entitled to 75 percent of the money raised in December, giving him an estimated $70 million PAC war chest.” It’s unclear what exactly that Trump might use this money for in the future.
As for the expenses that Trump accumulated prior to his exit from office, Trump’s campaign spent almost $5 million on television advertisements and $4.4 million on internet advertisements. Only some $10 million went to legal costs, which is “about one-fifth of what it spent on advertising and fund-raising,” the Times explains, and legal fees included “$1.6 million to Kasowitz Benson Torres, more than $500,000 to Jones Day and about $600,00 to Dechert,” the publication adds.
Rudy Giuliani, one of the ex-president’s most prominent defenders, was not personally paid for his efforts outside of a $63,423 travel reimbursement that his firm received. Giuliani made a number of in-person appearances on behalf of the Trump campaign around the country, pushing election fraud lies.