Donald Trump continues to tap his campaign contributions for the massive legal bills piling up. This year alone, the Trump campaign has spent 20 percent of all expenditures on legal fees for himself and his son, Donald Trump, Jr.
More than one-fifth of the $3.9 million that President Donald Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign has spent this year has gone to legal fees, the campaign’s latest quarterly Federal Election Commission filing shows.
About $835,000 in payments for “legal consulting” were made to eight firms and the Trump Corporation, with the most — $347,000 — going to Jones Day. Another $185,000 went to the firm Larocca Hornik Rosen Greenberg & Blaha. About $24,000 went to the Trump Corporation.
Turns out, his campaign also paid a $66,000 legal fee to the law firm that is representing Donald Trump’s former longtime bodyguard, Keith Schiller. While there is a legal basis for the Trump campaign to pay his bills and those of Don Jr., that may not be the case for Schiller’s legal fees. From NBC News:
The Schiller situation could be different, given that Schiller has been questioned about matters that occurred in 2013, well before Trump declared his candidacy, according to Bret Kappel, a campaign finance lawyer with Akerman LLP.
“I can see people taking the point of view that the entire investigation springs out of the campaign, but that would be a real stretch,” Kappel said.
Another campaign finance expert agreed.
Ciara Torres-Spelliscy, a campaign finance expert and law professor at Stetson University, said Trump is pushing all sorts of boundaries in terms of campaign finance law.
Schiller’s actions in 2013, she said, “would seem to be falling way outside of him being president or even a candidate for federal office.”
Whether the Stormy Daniels case has been deemed by Trump to be related to the campaign is unclear. But if Trump argued it was, that could also fuel a legal theory that the $130,000 paid to her in hush money by Cohen amounted to an illegal campaign contribution to Trump. Federal law limits individual contributions to $2,700.
And, as NBC News noted, the FBI is investigating Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen for … campaign finance violations. From the Washington Post:
Michael Cohen, the longtime attorney of President Trump, is under federal investigation for possible bank fraud, wire fraud and campaign finance violations, according to three people with knowledge of the case.
FBI agents on Monday raided Cohen’s Manhattan office, home and hotel room as part of the investigation, seizing records about Cohen’s clients and personal finances. Among the records taken were those related to a 2016 payment Cohen made to adult-film star Stormy Daniels, who claims to have had a sexual encounter with Trump, according to a fourth person familiar with the investigation.
Anyway you slice it, Trump’s legal problems, and those of every person around him, aren’t going away anytime soon.