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Millions more go to Trump legal expenses as Biden and Democratic Party expand campaign cash advantage

President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump. Reuters/Getty Images

CNN  — 

Donald Trump’s leadership PAC spent as much money as it took in last month, with his legal bills remaining a top expense as the former president grappled with the aftermath of losing a civil fraud case and prepared for the start of a historic criminal trial in a Manhattan court.

Save America, the political action committee that has underwritten much of Trump’s legal expenses, spent nearly $3.7 million on legal-related expenses in March – nearly $3 out of every $4 it collected, according to a filing Saturday night with the Federal Election Commission. And the committee ended this month with an additional $886,000 in outstanding legal bills – most of which were owed to Robert & Robert, the firm that has represented Trump and his family in a business fraud case brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James. That case ended in February with a staggering $355 million judgment against him, not counting interest.

Opening arguments are slated to begin Monday in a separate case, the criminal hush money trial that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has brought against Trump – the first former president to face criminal prosecution. Save America paid a combined $1.14 million in March to Blanche Law and NechelesLaw LLP, whose principals have flanked Trump in court during jury selection in recent days.

Saturday’s filings underscore how much financial ground Trump must make up as the general election campaign heats up. President Joe Biden and the Democratic National Committee expanded their cash advantage over Trump and the GOP in March.

Biden’s principal campaign committee entered April with $85.5 million stockpiled in its war chest, while Trump’s main campaign account had $45.1 million.

 Biden and the Democrats continue their fundraising advantage  

 President Joe Biden and the Democratic National Committee had about twice as much in their cash reserves as former President Trump and the Republican National Committee.

The money Save America spent just on legal expenses last month rivals the $3.7 million Trump’s campaign committee spent altogether in March as he pursues a third bid for the White House. That marked a significantly slower pace of campaign spending for the former president.

By contrast, Biden’s campaign – flush with money – reported more than $29 million in expenditures last month. It plowed nearly $22 million into producing and placing campaign ads.

Dwindling resource

Save America has relied on tens of millions of dollars it has clawed back from a Trump super PAC, MAGA Inc., to help keep it afloat. The new filings show the super PAC sent another $5 million back to Save America in March – bringing its total refunds to $57.25 million.

But this source of money will soon run dry. The leadership PAC had donated a total of $60 million to MAGA Inc., and cannot seek more than that in refunds.

Trump’s political team will tap another cash pipeline in the quest to replenish that dwindling resource. Under a recently inked joint fundraising agreement with the Republican National Committee and dozens of state parties, Save America is slated to get a $5,000 slice of money collected from each individual donor who participates in high-dollar fundraising. And the agreement prioritizes payments to Save America ahead of contributions to the RNC, according to the fine print of an invitation obtained by CNN.

The first big event under the umbrella of the new fundraising committee – a dinner at the Florida home of a billionaire investor – raised a record $50.5 million, according to the Trump campaign.

Financial boost for Kennedy

This week’s filings also pointed to the financial boon that Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s vice presidential pick represents for his independent bid for the White House. His campaign received a $2 million contribution from Nicole Shanahan in March and raised more than $3 million more that month, campaign filings show.

Kennedy also burned through cash in March, spending $4.5 million, as the campaign spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on consulting, events, advertising and payroll, up from February, when the campaign spent about $2.9 million. Kennedy’s campaign ended March with about $6 million in cash on hand.

Shanahan is an independently wealthy tech executive and the ex-wife of Google co-founder Sergey Brin. Politicians can contribute unlimited amounts of their own money to benefit their campaigns.

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