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Trump allies hope to raise $40 million at Florida fundraiser, seeking to narrow gap with Biden

Recap of Biden and Trump's NYC visits
Biden holds NYC fundraiser, Trump attends slain NYPD officer's wake and more political stories 07:16

As former President Donald Trump and his Republican allies seek to narrow President Biden's cash advantage, wealthy GOP donors hope to raise more than $40 million at a fundraiser next week for their presumptive nominee and the Republican National Committee, a figure that would eclipse the eye-popping $26 million Mr. Biden raised in New York on Thursday.

The fundraiser, set to be held on April 6 in Palm Beach, Florida, will direct donations to the Trump campaign and Save America PAC, the political action committee paying a majority of Trump's legal bills, before the RNC and local state parties get a cut, according to an invitation obtained by CBS News. Former first lady Melania Trump is also expected to attend. The Financial Times first reported details of the event.

The GOP fundraiser comes as the Biden campaign continues to flex its fundraising muscles in recent weeks, adding to its financial advantage over Trump and the RNC. Mr. Biden appeared with former Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama for a glitzy event at Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan, which the campaign billed as the most lucrative political fundraiser in U.S. history.

The president's reelection campaign entered March with $71 million cash on hand, more than doubling the amount the Trump campaign started the month with. The Biden war chest stood at $155 million when including money from the Democratic National Committee and affiliated joint fundraising committees.

In contrast, the Trump campaign, the Republican National Committee and the political action committees supporting Trump had just over $74 million cash on hand to start the month. 

Former President Donald Trump speaks during a press conference on March 25, 2024, in New York City.
Former President Donald Trump speaks during a press conference on March 25, 2024, in New York City. Michael M Santiago/GettyImages / Getty Images

Trump campaign representatives told CBS News that while they are unlikely to match Mr. Biden and the Democrats in fundraising, they have brought in more than $1 million a day the last six days and raised over $10.6 million in online, small-dollar donations last week.

March fundraising numbers for either party cannot be confirmed independently until next month, when updated federal campaign finance reports will be released.

Guests invited to Trump's upcoming Florida fundraiser are being asked to donate between $250,000 and $814,000 per person. Up to $6,600 will go directly to the Trump campaign, and the next $5,000 will go to Save America PAC, the legal limits for each. The remaining money will then go to the RNC and state parties across the country.

The way the fundraising committee, known as the Trump 47 Committee, diverts money to Save America PAC is unorthodox. It represents a new way that GOP donors could potentially end up paying for at least a portion of Trump's mounting legal bills, which have totaled more than $10 million so far this year.

The fine print on the dinner invitation, which lists Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum and Vivek Ramaswamy as speakers, said that donors can request for their donation to be divided differently.

"The response to our fundraising efforts has been overwhelming, and we've raised over $33 million so far," John Paulson, a hedge fund billionaire who is hosting the fundraiser, said in a statement to CBS News. "There is massive support amongst a broad spectrum of donors. The dinner is relatively small in nature, and we are almost at our cap."

The invite lists more than three dozen co-chairs for the fundraiser, including aerospace entrepreneur Robert Bigelow; Woody Johnson, the owner of the New York Jets and former U.S. ambassador to the U.K.; casino moguls Steve Wynn and Phil Ruffin; and former Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

When Trump became the presumptive GOP nominee for president earlier this month, he was allowed to start fundraising alongside the RNC and quickly moved to reshape the committee's leadership. He tapped Michael Whatley, former chair of the North Carolina Republican Party, and Lara Trump, his daughter-in-law, to run the party. Mass layoffs quickly ensued, and potential new hires have been asked whether they believe the 2020 election was stolen.

Chris LaCivita, Trump's co-campaign manager, and James Blair, a senior Trump campaign adviser, are also working with the RNC but will retain their positions with the Trump campaign.

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