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Trump, GOP lag Biden and Democrats in fundraising as campaigns look to general election

Trump campaign fundraising off fraud ruling
Trump campaign already fundraising off New York civil fraud ruling 04:03

President Biden and Democrats started off the year with a significant fundraising edge over former President Donald Trump and the Republican National Committee, campaign finance reports filed Tuesday with the Federal Election Commission show. 

Mr. Biden's campaign says it entered February with $130 million cash on hand across its affiliated committees. Two of those entities, the Biden for President Committee and the Democratic National Committee, account for $80 million of that war chest, according to their Monday filings. 

Two of his other joint fundraising committees, the Biden Victory Fund and Biden Action Fund, file on a quarterly basis and haven't released their January numbers. 

Trump's political apparatus continued to spend more than it raised in the first month of the year, continuing a trend from 2023, which showed the operation has been bogged down by steep legal bills as the former president continues to bounce between the courtroom and the campaign trail. 

In contrast, the Trump campaign, the Republican National Committee and the political action committees supporting him had just $65 million cash on hand combined to start February. 

The Trump campaign finished January with more than $30 million in its coffers, raising $8.84 million and spending $11.44 million as Trump was forced to spend big on rallies and advertising — almost $6.4 million combined — as it fended off GOP primary opponents in the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary. 

In January alone, Save America PAC, which is paying for most of Trump's legal defenses, spent over $2.9 million on legal fees, according to a CBS News analysis of Tuesday's filings. In 2023, political action committees paid over $49.6 million of donor money on Trump's attorneys, legal consulting, and investigation-related fees stemming from the 91 felony counts he faces across four cases, as well as multiple civil suits.

Trump and the Trump Organization were ordered to pay $345 million in fines, plus about another $100 million when interest is factored in, after Trump was found guilty of fraud in a civil trial in New York last week. In January, Trump was ordered to pay $83.3 million in damages for defamatory statements to E. Jean Carroll, the writer who accused Trump of sexual assault.

FEC regulations are unclear on whether Trump can use campaign funds to pay the financial penalties levied against him, as the regulatory group decides on a case-by-case basis whether legal expenses are considered "personal use" or not. 

The RNC, facing potential turnover and new leadership in the coming weeks, failed to significantly improve its subpar fundraising, finishing January with just $8.7 million cash on hand after having just $8 million cash on hand to start the year.

Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, who vowed Tuesday to stay in the race against Trump "until the last person votes," raised $11.5 million in January and started February with just under $13 million cash on hand. 

Haley's best fundraising day was Jan. 24, the day after the New Hampshire primary when she refused to drop out, when she raised $1.2 million that day alone.

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