Within hours of Donald Trump’s inauguration, he did something that was peculiar and unprecedented. He announced the establishment of his reelection committee for 2020. At the time, no one could figure out why he would do that so far in advance of the next presidential election. But his reasons are now apparent, and they affirm his status as Grifter-in-Chief.
When a campaign committee is formed it can immediately begin raising funds and making expenditures. Since January of 2017, Trump has pulled in more than $60 million dollars, just to his campaign committee, which doesn’t count what’s been raised by the Republican Party and pro-Trump PACS. Some of that money has already been been spent on his frequent cult rallies. He’s done about sixty of those to date. Remember, this is the candidate who said that:
“I don’t need anybody’s money. It’s nice. I don’t need anybody’s money. I’m using my own money. I’m not using the lobbyists. I’m not using donors. I don’t care. I’m really rich.”
That was one of his very earliest lies to the American people. He then created a marketing machine that peddled hokey red baseball caps, t-shirts, and anything else he could scribble his name and slogans onto. He also mined donations from a vast email list by appealing to the fear and ignorance of his Deplorable supporters who he taunted with threats of invasions from south of the border and promises of tax cuts for all. Which were just more lies.
Now ABC News is reporting that Trump’s campaign committee has spent an extraordinary amount of money on his own legal fees. And since this is a president who is drowning in criminal complaints, investigations, and even civil lawsuits by women he’s assaulted, his lawyers are among the busiest in the nation. According to ABC News:
“Since President Donald Trump took office in 2017, his re-election campaign has spent more than $8 million in legal fees, according to ABC News’ analysis of campaign finance records through last month, with record-breaking quarterly expenditures doled out in the last three months of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling during the 2016 presidential campaign.”
ABC also reveals that Trump’s campaign has been paying the legal bills for others in his inner circle, such as his son, Donald Trump Jr., and son-in-law Jared Kushner. Even his former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, had some bills paid prior to his cooperation with the office of special counsel, Robert Mueller. Of course, much of the expenditures were explicitly for matters related to Trump’s conspiracy with Russia and obstruction of justice.
Generally these sort of legal bills are paid by separate legal defense funds, which Trump also has set up for himself. But it’s much easier to raise money from his cult followers than from the big money donors who contribute to dedicated defense funds. Trump’s defense fund has raised less a million dollars, and spent only half of that.
You have to wonder whether Trump’s supporters know that fully fourteen percent of the money they are donating to help him get reelected is going directly into the pockets of shady lawyers like Rudy Giuliani? Would his glassy-eyed disciples even care?
What Trump has created with his reelection committee is just another vehicle for him to fleece the dupes who buy into his scams. He knew that when he started it two years ago. He is no better than the evangelical hucksters who ply their gullible devotees for bribes to God to get into heaven. And he can’t even promise that these donations are going to get him reelected, or even keep him out of prison.