The RNC threatens to stop paying Trump’s legal fees if he declares his intention to run again. The RNC allegedly threatened to stop paying Trump’s legal fees if he announced his intention too soon to run for office again.
An RNC official said that Republicans are worried that if Donald Trump announces his candidacy for president too soon, it could hurt their chances in the midterm elections. They are hoping that the possibility of losing hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees will stop him from doing so.
The Republican National Committee has contributed close to $2 million to law firms. That is, law firms that have defended Trump in court cases and government probes since October 2021.
But a representative of the RNC said that the payments would stop as soon as Trump announced his candidacy. This is because the party has a “neutrality policy” that says it can’t back any candidate in the primary.
The party must remain impartial, RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel declared in January.
She said, “I’m not advising somebody to run or not run in 2024. She later reiterated that Trump still dominates the party,” though.
RNC officials declined to comment for this story on the record. Trump’s representatives likewise refrained from commenting. Legal fees have previously been considered a potential form of pressure on Trump.
RNC allegedly threatens to stop paying Trump’s legal fees if he declares intention to run again
According to Jonathan Karl, in the final days of Trump’s presidency, he told McDaniel he was leaving the GOP. He said he was starting his own political party, only to back down. This is after McDaniel made it clear that the party would stop paying his legal fees for his post-election challenges. They also claim they could take other actions that would financially hurt him.
The RNC paid at least $1.73 million to three law firms representing Trump. That is, between October 2021 and June of this year. This includes firms that are defending him in inquiries into his personal family business in New York, according to the RNC’s most recent financial disclosure to the Federal Elections Commission. The RNC spent $50,000 only last month on a legal team that defended Trump in June.
The most recent total exceeds the $1.6 million cap that the Republican Party’s executive committee is said to have agreed to pay for Trump’s personal legal expenses during an RNC meeting last year; The Washington Post, which broke the story in December, noted that the cap could go even higher with the party executive committee’s approval.
Even as late as the middle of June, the RNC revealed payments to law firms that represent Trump. This shows that the party leadership is fully behind the former president. It also raises questions about the party’s impartiality before the 2024 presidential primary season.
According to Dan Eberhart, CEO of Canary LLC and a devoted Republican supporter, “I don’t think there has been any attempt” on the part of the RNC to maintain its impartiality. This friendship is mutually beneficial.
Eberhart said, “Trump wants them to keep paying his bills and be as pro-Trump as possible.” The RNC needs Trump, his surrogates, or people who resemble him to raise money. Therefore, neither is eager to break the cord.
The RNC has continued to promote a “Trump Life Membership” in emails to supporters, bolstering Trump’s social media presence and most recently, advertising his first trip to Washington, D.C., since January of last year. Analysts say that Trump has gotten more attention than other possible candidates for president in 2024. This includes former Vice President Mike Pence and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
Eberhart claimed that other prospective presidential contenders for 2024 are at an “absolute disadvantage.” This is because of the relationship that Trump now has with the RNC.
According to Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist at the progressive government-watchdog group Public Citizen, “Other Republican candidates seeking the Republican nomination for president have good reason to worry that the party apparatus is rigged against them in its unwavering support for Trump.”
According to Holman, “the RNC is indirectly financing the Trump campaign by covering Trump’s substantial legal expenses.” Other Republican candidates should anticipate that they are not just running against Trump. However, it is also against the Republican Party, given the RNC’s history of fervently supporting Trump.
The midterm elections
Everyone wants Trump to declare his candidacy after the midterm elections. This is according to Eberhart, who said that this is an “open secret” within the Republican Party.
If Trump made his announcement too soon, “everyone feels it’ll jumble the midterms and we might potentially damage the edge we have,” Eberhart added. It gives the Democrats a chance to try to change the election, and it makes Trump more important.
Read: Biden back in command and in good health as he tested negative for Covid
Emma Vaughn, a spokesman for the RNC said “as a leader of our party, protecting President Trump and his record of accomplishment is vital to the GOP.” She declined to comment on the RNC’s most recent legal payments to businesses that are representing Trump.
In response to inquiries regarding the RNC’s past legal expenditures on Trump, Vaughn said in January, “It is completely acceptable for the RNC to continue supporting in fighting back against the Democrats’ never-ending witch hunt and attacks on him.”
The legal payments to Trump, according to the Republican Party committee are meant to defend the former president against smear campaigns. But at least two of the three companies that were paid on Trump’s behalf are now representing the former president in court as the Manhattan district attorney and the attorney general of New York look into his business dealings.
Read: Bill to limit Supreme Court Justices’ terms to 18 years
Legal payments to Trump
Even though both officials are Democrats, they say that their investigations have nothing to do with politics.
According to the RNC’s disclosure reports, the $1.7 million distributed to the three companies comprises more than $860,000 paid to NechelesLaw LLP, $516,000 given to Fischetti & Malgieri LLP, and $350,000 paid to van der Veen, Hartshorn, and Levin. The most recent payments were $186,182 in May and $50,440 to Fischetti & Malgieri LLP in mid-June.
According to reports, the RNC is refusing to pay Trump’s legal fees associated with the House Special Committee’s inquiry into the Capitol incident on January 6. But Trump’s leadership PAC, Save America, and his presidential committee-turned-PAC, Make America Great Again, have been paying the legal fees of witnesses in court cases about what happened on January 6. This has led members of the January 6 committee and legal experts to worry about witness coercion.
Legal spending rules for candidates and executive branch officials have been submitted to the Office of Government Ethics. This is according to Holman, a lobbyist for the watchdog organization. Some of the proposals would impose contribution caps and outlaw certain financing sources. It will also demand complete transparency on funding sources and expenditures.
To pay for Trump’s legal problems and essentially dodge significant disclosure of the sources and uses of these funds, Holman said, “Trump and the RNC may legally do practically whatever they want until OGE finalizes these standards.”
Share: RNC threatens to stop paying Trump’s legal fees if he declares intention to run again