What's that maxim among the wealthy? Something like, "you don't get rich by spending money." President Donald Trump seems to have taken that to heart when it comes to his mounting legal fees. The Republican National Committee reports payments in excess of $230,000 to cover Trump's legal fees related to the ongoing investigation into alleged collusion with the Russian government during the 2016 election.
Trump is literally stealing RNC money to pay his legal fees— Black Truth (@BlackTruth8) September 21, 2017
In a July interview with Washington radio station WMAL, RNC Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel (niece of Mitt Romney) was asked if the RNC would be covering Trumps legal expenses. Romney McDaniel said:
First of all, I don't even know if that's legal, if we would even be allowed to do that. So there's just nothing that I can comment on on that front right now. So that would have to go through the lawyers first before it would come to us.
Mr. Corn, I think Trump is so deep in debt, and has very little in liquid assets, he can't pay his legal fees himself.— Tom Oesterle (@revtjo1953) September 21, 2017
According to RNC spokeswoman Cassie Smedile, who spoke with The Hill, the payments “have been paid with funds from a pre-existing legal proceedings account and do not reduce by a dime the resources we can put towards our political work.”
The legal proceedings account was created by Congress two years ago as a separate vehicle to allow party committees to raise additional funds independent from the main campaign coffers, and allows contributions of up to $100,200. The original intention of the funds was to help pay the legal expenses of actions like election recounts, but the newly established fund has no clear guidelines governing it's use.
Larry Noble, senior director at the Campaign Legal Center, clarified that as long as Trump is paying legal fees for areas of the investigation focused on his campaign, it's legal for him to use campaign contributions towards that purpose.