President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign, which is up and running earlier than any of his predecessors in modern history, spent more than $3 million in legal fees in 2017.
The latest figures means nearly $2 of every $10 the campaign has spent last year has gone toward legal fees. And in the last three months of 2017, about 41 percent of the Trump campaign’s spending went toward legal fees, according to the campaign’s most recent Federal Election Commission filing.
It was not immediately clear how much of the campaign’s $1.1 million in legal spending the last quarter of 2017 was tied to the Russia investigation, but the Trump campaign has used some funds in the last year to comply with document requests related to the investigation and to foot some of the president’s eldest son’s legal bills.
While the Trump campaign’s spending on legal fees amounted to about 18 percent of its total spending, the legal expenses total a little more than 7 percent of its total fundraising haul for the year.
The figures came as the Trump campaign touted its continued reliance on small-dollar donors.
The campaign noted in a press release Wednesday that 98.6 percent of its fourth quarter contributions were drawn from donations of $200 or less.
“Our latest FEC report is just one reflection of a fundamental reality: grassroots support for President Trump is stronger than ever,” said Lara Trump, a senior adviser on the campaign and the President’s daughter-in-law. “Never before has a president’s campaign committee raised so much in his first year in office, and never has a president enjoyed so much support from small donors who continue to rally around him. President Trump is grateful to those hard working men and women who believe so strongly in his commitment to Make America Great Again that they continue to contribute to our campaign in record numbers.”
The Trump campaign’s legal spending in the last quarter of 2017 did not go to any firms believed to be representing the President’s eldest son, Donald Trump, Jr., as in previous months last year.
The firm representing Trump’s former private attorney Michael Cohen, who was also a top surrogate during the campaign, was paid $214,467 by the campaign in the final months of 2017. But it was not immediately clear whether the payments were related to the firm’s representation of Cohen.
While the Republican National Committee, which has footed some of the president’s legal bills, draws on a walled-off legal fund to pay for its legal expenses, the Trump campaign draws its legal funding from its general campaign coffers — leaving both small and large donors to foot the bill.