Trump Raises $13.3 Million in Second Quarter
President Donald Trump raised $13.3 million through three fundraising committees in the second quarter of 2017, up from the $12.6 million during the previous three months, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission.
The committees ended June with $22.6 million cash on hand, including $11.9 million in his campaign coffer, Saturday’s filings showed.
Trump received $5 million from small-dollar donors, or those who contribute $200 or less. He also saw a surge of big-money support, fueled in large measure by donors writing substantial checks to join the president at a closed-door event at his hotel in Washington in June, the first fundraising event of his re-election campaign.
The money was raised during the period when investigations into allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 election led Trump to fire Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey. Former FBI director Robert Mueller then took charge of the government’s probe as special counsel.
Trump’s campaign paid $677,827 for legal services, up from $249,344 in the first quarter. The bulk went to Jones Day, the campaign’s law firm, and about $90,000 was paid to the Trump Corporation. It also paid $50,000 to the Law Offices of Alan S. Futerfas on June 27, the disclosures show. The White House didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on the spending.
Donald Trump Jr. later hired Futerfas to represent him in the ongoing Russian probe after the release of emails last week showing that the president’s eldest son had met with a woman, described to him as a Russian government attorney, to acquire damaging information about Hillary Clinton.
“It’s not unusual to have a president raise money for his party, but it is highly unusual for a sitting president to raise this much money for his own campaign this far away from the election,” said Michael Beckel, research director of Issue One, a group that supports tighter limits on big money in politics.
Trump Victory, a joint fundraising committee that benefits both his campaign and the Republican National Committee, took in $5.2 million from donors giving $35,000 or more, the price of admission to the June 28 event at the Trump International Hotel. The committee didn’t disclose how much it paid to use the hotel, in which Trump retains an ownership interest.
Under campaign finance law, campaigns can conduct business with candidates’ businesses if they pay fair market value for the services. The disclosures show that Trump’s committees paid about $210,000 to businesses Trump owns.
Former President Barack Obama had been in office more than two years before he headlined his first re-election fundraiser. Former President George W. Bush raised $268,423 in his first two years in office, according to FEC records.
Golf Club Covers
In part, Trump’s fundraising has been fueled by continued appeals to small-dollar donors. His online store continues to hawk everything from hats to coffee mugs to golf club covers, with purchases benefiting the Trump Make America Great Again Committee, another joint fundraising committee focused on grassroots supporters. And his campaign committee sends contributors text messages asking them to contribute.
“FAKE NEWS is the enemy. They don’t want YOU to hear the truth!” read one message sent on May 31, which included a link to a page for making donations. On June 16, Trump offered his small-dollar donors a shot at attending June fundraiser, selecting a winner among those who contributed within two hours of receiving the text to be entered in a contest to attend the event. “Do not worry about a thing,” the appeal read. “We will fly you to DC, we will take a picture together and you will stay at a big beautiful hotel.”