Former U.S. President and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump covers his face from lights as he holds a campaign rally in Erie, Pennsylvania, U.S., July 29, 2023.
Lindsay Dedario | Reuters
Former President Donald Trump’s once-formidable and lucrative political action committee is down to $3 million on hand while committees allied with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and President Joe Biden have well over $100 million combined ready to deploy, new data shows.
Trump’s Save America PAC raised over $15 million in the first half of 2023, spent over $30 million and now has about $3.6 million on hand, according to Federal Election Commission records. The committee came into 2023 in a strong position, raising over $100 million and with $18 million on hand.
An NBC News analysis of the filings shows that Save America spent north of $20 million on legal fees, with payments going to more than 40 different law firms.
The drop in fundraising by the Trump PAC suggests the small-dollar donor operation that has helped the former president and his allies run a political fundraising juggernaut could be dwindling.
Data from OpenSecrets shows that during the 2020 presidential election in which Trump lost, his campaign and affiliated outside group raised over $300 million from donors who gave $200 or less. That accounted for 48% of the donations.
“Most of the money that middle-class Americans have given to him, he’s spent on his own legal fees,” former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie told CNBC on Tuesday.
Christie is among a group of candidates who, despite being down in the polls to Trump, is seeing some big-money support, according to FEC records.
Christie told CNBC “we have” when asked if he had met with billionaire industrialist Charles Koch. The Koch Industries-funded Americans for Prosperity Action raised over $70 million in the first half of the year and is spending some of that budget against Trump in the primary.
The super PAC supporting Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ campaign is flourishing with an over $130 million haul in the first half of the year and has over $96 million on hand. His own campaign raised around $20 million and went into the third quarter with just over $12 million on hand.
Biden, through his campaign committees and at least two joint fundraising committees, finished the second quarter raising over $70 million.
The pro-Trump super PAC, Make America Great Again, Inc., which raised about $14 million over the same time period, also appears to have its own spending troubles coming into the second half of 2023. It spent over $37 million on a wide variety of items, including over $20,000 earlier this year at Trump’s private club in Florida, Mar-a-Lago.
The super PAC came into the later stages of the year with $30 million on hand.