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Trump and Haley burned through cash in January, new reports show

On a day when Nikki Haley vowed to stay in the Republican presidential race regardless of the outcome in Saturday’s South Carolina primary, the 2024 presidential campaigns and their allied committees filed reports to the Federal Election Commission showing what they raised through the end of January. Donald Trump’s campaign and the leadership PAC that has been shouldering his legal bills burned through cash in January as he progressed toward the Republican presidential nomination. Major donors also stepped in to boost Haley’s quixotic effort — but the super PAC supporting her did not have much left in reserves at the end of January. Here are some of the takeaways from the new reports:

Trump’s campaign and his allied leadership PAC spent heavily in January as he fought off his rivals for the Republican nomination in Iowa and New Hampshire while dealing with his burgeoning legal bills as he faces multiple lawsuits and 91 felony charges across four criminal cases.

The Trump campaign had $30 million in cash on hand at the end of January. He raised almost $9 million and spent $11.4 million during the month of January. Trump’s Save America leadership PAC — which he has been using to pay many of his own legal bills, as well as those of some of his aides and associates — had only about $6 million in cash on hand at the end of January. (When raising dollars through his joint fundraising committee, 90 cents of each dollar donated is diverted to his campaign committee and 10 cents is diverted to the Save America leadership PAC).

During January, Save America spent nearly $4 million — much of it on legal expenses — and reported about $1.9 million in unpaid bills, which also appeared to mostly be debts for legal consulting.

The main super PAC bolstering Trump’s candidacy, MAGA Inc., had $19.7 million in cash on hand at the end of the filing period. The biggest donor to Trump’s super PAC in January was once again transportation executive Timothy Mellon, who donated another $5 million to the group. Geoffrey Palmer, a real estate developer who has hosted fundraisers for Trump in Beverly Hills, gave $1 million to the super PAC.

Reports at the end of the year showed that two of Trump’s committees, the Save America leadership PAC and the Make America Great Again PAC, spent $55.6 million on legal bills in 2023.

The Biden campaign said it raised more than $42 million in January across both the campaign and its joint fundraising committees, which do not have to file reports with the Federal Election Commission until April. Across all its committees, the campaign said it has $130 million in cash on hand.

Biden aides said January was its strongest grass-roots fundraising month since the president launched his reelection campaign in April. Campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez said in a statement that January’s fundraising haul was “driven by a powerhouse grassroots fundraising program that continues to grow month by month” and that the tally was “an indisputable show of strength to start the election year.” She pointed to the Democratic cohesion in fundraising compared with the divisions within the Republican Party as Trump and Haley continue to fight for the nomination and as Trump grapples with his legal bills.

TJ Ducklo, a spokesman for the campaign, said in a statement that the haul would go toward reaching the voters who will decide the general election: “That’s reason number 355 million that we are confident President Biden and Vice President Harris will win this November,” he said, alluding to the $355 million in penalties that a New York judge ordered Trump to pay after finding that he and others had carried out a years-long scheme to use “blatantly false financial data” to borrow money at lower rates.

Haley said Tuesday that she has no plans of exiting the presidential race even if Trump defeats her by a wide margin in South Carolina this weekend, as most polls suggest he will. Both small-dollar donors to her campaign as well as big-check writers to her super PAC have allowed her to keep going in the Republican race as she has taken an increasingly defiant tone toward Trump and warned that his unpredictable legal troubles could hamper his efforts to defeat Biden in November.

Haley’s campaign raised more than $11.5 million during the first month of the year — spending more than $13 million over the same period — and had nearly $13 million in cash on hand at the end of the month. SFA Fund Inc., the super PAC allied with her campaign, continued to show a high burn rate, spending nearly $13.7 million in January and ending the month with about $2 million in cash on hand.

For much of last year, many major donors remained on the sidelines unconvinced that any Republican candidate could prevent Trump from getting the Republican presidential nomination. But some of the biggest Republican donors showed up on the end-of-year report filed by SFA Fund Inc. and continued to give generously to Haley in January as she competed in the early contests in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Among the top contributors to her super PAC were California-based investor Timothy Draper, who gave $750,000 to the group and hosted several high-dollar fundraisers for Haley in the Bay Area, and Arkansas-based investment banker Warren Stephens, who also contributed $750,000 to the group in January.

The Republican National Committee continued to show signs of financial strain when compared with the war chest of the Democratic National Committee, reporting just $8.7 million in cash on hand to the DNC’s $24 million.

The committee raised more than $11.5 million during January but spent more than $10.8 million during the same period. The committee’s fundraising has been weak at a time when Trump has dominated small-dollar fundraising and in the midst of a competitive primary where low-dollar donors are far more excited to give to their preferred candidate. Some Trump loyalists and grass-roots activists have also been vocal about their dissatisfaction with RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel, despite her fealty to Trump.

As McDaniel prepares to step down as RNC chair, her advisers have touted her fundraising prowess over the course of her nearly eight-year tenure — when they said she helped raise more than $1.5 billion for the organization. Earlier this month, Trump released a statement saying he hoped to see Michael Whatley, the chair of the North Carolina GOP, lead the RNC as chair and his daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, step in as co-chair after McDaniel steps down.

The DNC has had the advantage of raising money in concert with Biden’s presidential campaign. It reported taking in over $16 million, handily outpacing the RNC, and spending $14 million.

Tyler Pager contributed to this report.

This post appeared first on The Washington Post

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