GOP LEADERS FRET AS TRUMP SPENDS $58.4M DONATIONS FOR LEGAL FEES
Republican officials are fuming over reports that President Donald Trump has been using donations to pay for his legal fees, with $58.4-million from GOP supporters being spent for legal and compliance work since 2015.
Writing for Raw Story on September 5, 2020 (Sunday, September 6, 2020 in Manila), Tom Boggioni noted that the practice is consistent with Trump’s bad habit of using other people’s money to boost his personal interest and his notorious vice of refusing to use his personal funds to pay people whom he had contracted. Republican donors who have sent large amounts of money since 2019 to the special GOP account include Joseph Craft, chief executive of a coal mining company that has benefited from Trump’s regulatory actions. The others are Stephen A. Schwarzman, the chief executive of the Blackstone Group, and Thomas J. Barrack Jr., both private equity investors who have long been close to the president, and members of the casino-owning Fertitta family of Las Vegas.
The New York Times, which broke the story on Sunday, noted that former President Barack Obama spent $10.7 million on legal fees since 2007 and former President George Bush spent even less for his legal battles, including the case over his election that went all the way to the Supreme Court (SC).
In his story, Eric Lipton of the New York Times said “it would appear that the president is treating campaign donations and money sent to the Republican National Committee as his personal ‘piggy bank.’ One of issues that is drawing scrutiny is money being spent on the legal woes of Trump associates and family members. “In Washington, Mr. Trump and his campaign affiliates hired lawyers to assist members of his staff and family — including a onetime bodyguard, his oldest son and his son-in-law — as they were pulled into investigations related to Russia and Ukraine. The Republican National Committee has paid at least $2.5 million in legal bills to the firms that did this and other legal work,” the report notes before adding, “In California, Mr. Trump sued to block a law that would have forced him to release his taxes if he wanted to run for re-election. The Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee have paid the law firm handling this case, among others, $1.8 million.”