Spending by Trump’s Save America PAC surges amid legal battles over Mar-a-Lago


Spending by Donald Trump’s Save America PAC surged in August to more than $6.3 million – its highest monthly total of the year – as the former President waged court battles over the FBI’s search of his waterfront Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

More than $3.8 million of that money – or more than $6 out of $10 spent by Trump’s leadership PAC last month – went to legal fees, according to filings Tuesday night with the Federal Election Commission. The largest legal expense was a single payment of $3 million to the trust account of a West Palm Beach, Florida, law firm.

CNN has previously reported that the PAC advanced Trump’s attorney Chris Kise a $3 million upfront payment to cover the former Florida solicitor general’s legal fees.

The PAC’s post-election fundraising has come under intense scrutiny in recent weeks. CNN reported earlier this month that a federal grand jury had issued subpoenas that seek information related to the formation, fundraising and expenditures of Save America.

Leadership PACs, fundraising tools to help politicians support other candidates, operate under looser rules than committees tied to active candidates – giving Trump the leeway to use donors’ money for personal expenses if he chooses. The PAC’s spending on legal fees in August was four times what it spent on legal expenses the previous month – as the former President, who has not been charged with a crime, faces increasing legal concerns.

The new filings show Save America made one large federal contribution last month, sending $150,000 on August 3 to Wyoming Values – a super PAC that worked to defeat a top Trump target, Wyoming GOP Rep. Liz Cheney.

Cheney, one of Trump’s fiercest critics on Capitol Hill, lost the Republican primary to Trump-backed Harriet Hageman on August 16.

Trump’s PAC entered September with more than $92 million in cash reserves, according to the new filings – one of the healthier bank accounts in GOP politics. By comparison, the National Republican Senatorial Committee – the GOP fundraising arm charged with flipping the Senate – started September and the sprint to Election Day with just $16 million remaining in the bank.

Trump has faced public pressure to provide more financial help to Republican Senate candidates, some of whom are struggling to compete financially with their Democratic rivals ahead of November’s general election. In Arizona, for instance, Trump-endorsed political newcomer Blake Masters had raised nearly $5 million through the end of June, the most recent candidate filings show, while Sen. Mark Kelly, the Democrat he’s trying to unseat, had collected $54 million.

In an email to CNN on Tuesday night, Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich said the former President “has been completely invested in seeing his endorsed candidates win.”

And he said Trump’s frequent rallies for candidates “serve as the most powerful political weapon in American politics” and “bring out new…

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