WASHINGTON — President Trump’s campaign raised another $6.9 million during the final months of last year, helping him amass more than $43 million during his first year in office.
Trump, who took the unusual step of registering his reelection committee on the first day of his presidency, finished the year with $22.1 million banked for his 2020 campaign, filings Wednesday with the Federal Election Commission show.
Lara Trump, the president’s daughter-in-law and a top adviser to his campaign committee, said Trump’s cash-on-hand figure was an “unprecedented feat” for a first-term president.
“Our latest FEC report is just one reflection of a fundamental reality: Grassroots support for President Trump is stronger than ever,” she said in a statement.
But the filing also shows the president’s campaign spent nearly $2.8 million during the final three months of 2017, and 40% of that money — or $1.13 million — paid legal bills. The lion’s share went to Jones Day, which represents Trump on election-related matters and served as White House Counsel Don McGahn’s employer before he joined the government.
A little more than $214,000, however, went to McDermott, Will & Emery, the firm of Washington-based lawyer Stephen Ryan, who is helping Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, navigate the federal investigation into Russian influence in the 2016 election.
Cohen did not immediately responded to a USA TODAY inquiry about the payment.
Last year, the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee used hundreds of thousands of dollars in donors’ money to cover Russia-related fees for Trump and his eldest son, Donald Trump Jr. The president’s lawyers announced last November that he would begin paying his own legal fees.
Special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russian meddling in the presidential election. Trump has repeatedly denied any collusion with the Russian government.
Wednesday’s filing also shows the Trump campaign hired private investigators late last year, paying about $5,000 in December to Confidential Global Investigations.
The New York company says its services range from forensic accounting to “covert intelligence gathering” and staffers include ex-FBI agents and a former top official with the international law enforcement agency, Interpol
Trump’s report underscores the aggressive fundraising strategy of Trump’s campaign and the Republican National Committee. In 2009, during his first year in office, President Obama had total receipts of just $10.6 million and did not headline his first fundraising event until his third year of his presidency.
In his first year, Trump has delivered fiery speeches to campaign rallies around the country. During Tuesday night’s State of the Union address, he raised campaign money by scrolling donors’ names during a live stream of his speech to Congress. (On Wednesday, Trump’s unorthodox move drew a formal ethics complaint to Congress from the liberal watchdog group Public Citizen, which argued that broadcast of official floor proceedings in the U.S. House cannot be used for political purposes.)
For its part, the Republican National Committee raised $11 million in December, bringing its total for 2017 to $132.5 million, a record off-year election haul.The RNC ended the year with $38.8 million in available cash.
“Our strong fundraising numbers reflect voters’ optimism and continued support as President Trump fulfills his promises to the American people,” RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement.
The Democratic National Committee, meanwhile, seems near the edge of insolvency. It raised $65.9 million in 2017, half what the RNC took in last year. While the committee reported $6.5 million in available cash, its unpaid bills exceeded $6 million.
Contributing: Kevin Johnson
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