Probes run up Trump cam­paign’s le­gal costs

$700,000 paid out in past three months

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - COM­PILED BY DEMO­CRAT-GAZETTE STAFF FROM WIRE REPORTS

WASHINGTON — Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s re-elec­tion cam­paign more than dou­bled its spend­ing on le­gal fees over the past few months as its lawyers as­sisted the cam­paign in its han­dling of in­ves­ti­ga­tions into in­ter­ac­tions between the pres­i­dent’s as­so­ci­ates and Rus­sia.

The com­mit­tees de­voted to Trump’s 2020 cam­paign spent nearly $700,000 on le­gal fees between the be­gin­ning of April and the end of June — more than twice as much as they spent in the first three months of the year — ac­cord­ing to reports filed Satur­day af­ter­noon with the Fed­eral Elec­tion Com­mis­sion.

Among the le­gal fees paid by the Trump cam­paign was $50,000 on June 27 to the of­fices of New York lawyer Alan Futer­fas, who is rep­re­sent­ing Don­ald Trump Jr. in the on­go­ing Rus­sia-re­lated in­ves­ti­ga­tions. That pay­ment was made 13 days be­fore it was pub­licly re­vealed that Futer­fas would rep­re­sent Trump’s el­dest son.

Trump Jr. was re­cently thrust into the cen­ter of those in­ves­ti­ga­tions af­ter rev­e­la­tions that he had ar­ranged a meet­ing last year with a Rus­sian lawyer who claimed to have dam­ag­ing in­for­ma­tion about Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Hil­lary Clin­ton.

Futer­fas’ firm had not pre­vi­ously been paid by Trump’s cam­paign. Nei­ther he nor Trump Jr. re­sponded Satur­day to ques­tions about the pay­ment.

The ma­jor­ity of the le­gal pay­ments re­flected in the sec­ond- quar­ter reports — $545,000 — went to the law firm Jones Day. It has rep­re­sented the cam­paign in elec­tion-law mat­ters and on­go­ing law­suits and also is ad­vis­ing on le­gal is­sues re­lated to the Rus­sia in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

The cam­paign has been send­ing let­ters to for­mer em­ploy­ees in­struct­ing them to re­tain doc­u­ments that could be rel­e­vant to the on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions, ac­cord­ing to sev­eral peo­ple who re­ceived them. Some of the let­ters, signed by the cam­paign’s ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor, Michael Glass­ner, alert the for­mer em­ploy­ees that lawyers from Jones Day might con­tact them.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Jones Day, the Trump cam­paign and the White House did not re­spond to ques­tions about the firm’s role in help­ing the cam­paign nav­i­gate the Rus­sia in­ves­ti­ga­tions, which have ex­panded to in­clude sev­eral for­mer cam­paign of­fi­cials, as well as the cam­paign’s dig­i­tal op­er­a­tion.

The Trump cam­paign also paid nearly $90,000 to the Trump Or­ga­ni­za­tion for le­gal con­sult­ing and $120,000 in rent for the cam­paign’s of­fices at Trump Tower in New York City. Un­der cam­paign-fi­nance law, cam­paigns can con­duct busi­ness with can­di­dates’ com­pa­nies if they pay fair mar­ket value for the ser­vices.

FUNDRAIS­ING TAKE $13.3 MIL­LION

In ad­di­tion to the re-elec­tion cam­paign, two joint fundrais­ing ve­hi­cles es­tab­lished with Repub­li­can Party com­mit­tees also filed reports to the com­mis­sion. The three fundrais­ing com­mit­tees raised about $13.3 mil­lion in the sec­ond quar­ter of 2017, up from $12.6 mil­lion dur­ing the pre­vi­ous three months, ac­cord­ing to the fil­ings.

The reports make clear that Trump’s re-elec­tion cam­paign op­er­a­tion is al­ready in high gear, and it is work­ing to en­gage the Repub­li­can Party’s deep­est pock­ets in a way that his 2016 cam­paign did not.

Trump re­ceived $5 mil­lion from small- dol­lar donors, those who con­trib­ute $200 or less. He also saw a surge of big-money sup­port, fu­eled in large mea­sure by donors writ­ing checks of at least $35,000 each to join the pres­i­dent at a pri­vate event at his Washington ho­tel in June, the first fundrais­ing event of his re-elec­tion cam­paign.

The com­mis­sion reports show that donors who contributed $200 or less ac­counted for less than 38 per­cent of all funds raised in the sec­ond quar­ter. That is a re­ver­sal from Trump’s 2016 cam­paign, when small donors ac­counted for a ma­jor­ity of the out­side do­na­tions raised by his com­mit­tees, not in­clud­ing the $66 mil­lion he do­nated to his cam­paign.

The reports show that Trump’s com­mit­tees spent $229,000 on salaries and po­lit­i­cal and com­mu­ni­ca­tions con­sult­ing. The com­mit­tees spent $2.1 mil­lion on dig­i­tal con­sult­ing, all of which went to firms associated with con­sul­tant Brad Parscale of San An­to­nio, who served as dig­i­tal direc­tor of Trump’s 2016 cam­paign.

Parscale and the Trump cam­paign data op­er­a­tion have at­tracted the in­ter­est of con­gres­sional in­ves­ti­ga­tors look­ing into the Trump cam­paign’s dig­i­tal op­er­a­tion in con­nec­tion with the Rus­sia in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

On Fri­day, Parscale posted on Twit­ter that he had ac­cepted an in­vi­ta­tion to ap­pear be­fore the House In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee, writ­ing, “I am un­aware of any Rus­sian in­volve­ment in the dig­i­tal and data op­er­a­tion of the 2016 Trump pres­i­den­tial cam­paign.”

The reports filed Satur­day also show that the com­mit­tees spent nearly $200,000 on Trump-branded mer­chan­dise, in­clud­ing more than $80,000 on hats.

The ma­jor­ity of the le­gal pay­ments re­flected in the sec­ond-quar­ter reports — $545,000 — went to the law firm Jones Day. It has rep­re­sented the cam­paign in elec­tion-law mat­ters and on­go­ing law­suits and also is ad­vis­ing on le­gal is­sues re­lated to the Rus­sia in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

In­for­ma­tion for this ar­ti­cle was contributed by Ken­neth P. Vo­gel and Rachel Shorey of The New

York Times; by Mark Ber­man, Matea Gold, Tom Ham­burger and Ros­alind S. Hel­der­man of The

Washington Post; and by Bill Al­li­son of Bloomberg News.

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