Trump Is Facing Major Financial Issues: Here Is What He Can Do

By: Lauren | Published: Feb 20, 2024

It’s hard to imagine Donald Trump as broke. Technically, the former president and business mogul isn’t personally struggling for money, but his campaign certainly is.

Over the past several months, Trump has spent millions of dollars of his campaign funds on his trial, and now, it seems he may not have enough for the final months of the 2024 election.

Trump Has Spent $51.2 Million on Legal Fees

It’s always expensive to go to court. From lawyers to legal fees and everything in between, the average American usually spends at least $30,000 to defend themselves.

Advertisement
Judge's gavel rests on a pile of American bills

Source: Freepik

However, Donald Trump has spent 1,700 times that in his court proceedings. According to Bloomberg, his criminal case has cost the former president $51.2 million in legal expenses (so far.)

Advertisement

Trump Isn’t Using His Own Money to Pay His Legal Fees

Forbes has reported that Donald Trump is worth a whopping $2.6 billion as of 2024. But while he undoubtedly has enough money to fund his trial, he’s not using his vast fortune.

Advertisement
Donald Trump and his many lawyers in the courtroom during his trial

Source: Alamy

Instead, the former president and current candidate is dipping into his campaign funds to pay for the incredibly expensive court case.

Is It Legal for Trump to Pay for His Trial with Campaign Funds?

According to federal regulations, “The Commission has said that campaign funds may be used to pay for up to 100 percent of legal expenses related to campaign or officeholder activity, where such expenses would not have occurred had the individual not been a candidate.”

Advertisement
Donald Trump speaks to an audience at a Republican National Committee event

Source: Adobe Stock

Which applies to Donald Trump’s current situation, as he is being tried for being “part of an illegal conspiracy to undermine the integrity of the 2016 election.” The presidential race, which he then won, and therefore, “such expenses would not have occurred had the individual not been a candidate.”

It’s Legal, But It’s Not Exactly Smart

Even though Trump isn’t breaking any laws by using his campaign funding to pay his legal expenses, that doesn’t mean it’s the best course of action.

Advertisement
Man holds open and empty leather wallet

Source: Freepik

As previously mentioned, Trump has already spent $51.2 million from his funding, and he can still use another $23.5 million over the coming months if he chooses to. But that will leave the presidential candidate all but broke as the race is at its most intense.

Breaking Down Campaign Spending

In 2020, Donald Trump spent $1.06 billion on his presidential campaign, while Biden spent even more at $1.68 billion.

Logo for the Republican National Committee (RNC)

Source: Britannica

While this is certainly the most any two candidates have spent on an election, the truth is that presidential campaigns have always been wildly expensive. In order to fund them, both the democratic and republican candidates have their own organizations, known as the Democratic National Committee and the Republican National Committee (the DNC and RNC respectively,) that raise money for them.

Advertisement

Candidates Often Start Secondary Organizations to Raise More

However, the DNC and RNC can’t usually cover the entire bill for the campaign, so candidates start their own organizations in order to make up the difference. In Trump’s case, those include Save America and Make America Great Again Inc.

Sign that reads “Make America Great Again” on an American flag

Source: iStock

Both of these groups, known as political action committees or PACs, have raised tens of millions of dollars for the presidential candidate. But he is using quite a lot of what they’ve accumulated on the trial.

Advertisement

Save America Has Spent $9.9 Million on Trump’s Trial

Save America is mostly made up of smaller donations from Trump’s less wealthy supporters around the country. The PAC raised an amazing $100 million in 2022, but spent $82 million preparing for the 2024 election.

Logo for the Save America PAC for Donald Trump

Source: Shutterstock

Then, during the first half of 2023, they raised an additional $15 million but used $30 million, $9.9 million of which was allocated for legal fees. According to CNBC, the organization now has only $3.6 million left.

Advertisement

MAGA Inc Used $0.71 of Every Dollar for Legal Expenses

MAGA Inc, on the other hand, has spent $43.8 million over the past year, and Bloomberg reports that 71 cents of every one of those dollars was used for legal expenses, not campaigning.

Businessman uses smartphone at his desk with a judge’s gavel in the foreground

Source: iStock

So, while it’s impossible to say exactly how much money Trump has left from both his PACs, it’s becoming increasingly clear that it’s not enough to successfully run for president.

Advertisement

What About the RNC?

The RNC has also covered a significant portion of Trump’s legal fees, and as of the start of 2024, the organization only has $8 million left to spend on the upcoming campaign.

RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel speaking at the 2018 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC)

Source: Wikipedia

Trump has made it clear that he believes the RNC isn’t doing enough, and specifically, that chairwoman Ronna McDaniel has been slacking in her fundraising duties.

Advertisement

Trump Is a Far More Expensive Candidate than Biden

It’s clear that because of his criminal trial, Trump is a wildly more expensive candidate than Biden.

President Joe Biden speaks to an audience at a campaign rally

Source: Wikipedia

So, the good news for Biden is that the entire $97 million that the DNC was able to raise in 2023 will all be used for the upcoming presidential race. Meanwhile, Trump is running out of money and fast.

Advertisement

How Will Trump Run without Money?

There is still time for the RNC, and PACs like Save America and MAGA to fundraise millions of more dollars for their favorite president to sit in the Oval Office once again, but they’re going to have to work hard to make enough.

Presidential candidate Donald Trump points to someone in the audience at a campaign event

Source: Wikipedia

Chris LaCivita, senior advisor to the Trump campaign explained, “Our mission is straightforward – maximize the Republican Party’s resources to get President Trump elected.”

Advertisement