- The RNC paid more than $US121,000 ($AU166,429) toward Trump’s legal fees amid the criminal investigation in New York.
- The Manhattan DA and New York AG are investigating Trump over his financial practices.
- The party said “it is entirely appropriate” for the RNC to assist Trump by paying his legal fees.
The Republican National Committee put more than $US121,000 ($AU166,429) of funding towards former President Donald Trump’s legal fees as he faces a criminal investigation over his financial practices in New York.
In October, the committee made two payments totaling $US121,670 ($AU167,351) to the law firm of Ronald Fischetti, a criminal defense attorney Trump hired in April of this year amid the years-long investigation by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office into the Trump Organization and the former president’s business dealings.
One payment of $US58,240 ($AU80,106) was made on October 6 and another payment of $US63,430 ($AU87,245) was made on October 13, per FEC filings seen by Insider.
Though the party’s executive committee approved the payments in recent weeks, the requests for the legal funds came over the summer, a person familiar with the matter told The Washington Post.
In May of this year, Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance Jr. announced he was convening a grand jury as his office investigates whether the Trump Organization violated state tax laws “by keeping two sets of books — one for favorable tax and loan rates, and the other to pay little in taxes,” Insider’s Sonam Sheth and Jacob Shamsian reported.
The inquiry into Trump and his company’s finances is wide-ranging and has been underway for more than two years.
The office of New York Attorney General Letitia James is also investigating the Trump Organization’s finances, as well as the former president’s personal finances, to determine if the company falsely inflated the value of Trump’s assets for the purpose of loans and tax benefits.
Another source familiar with the committee’s discussions regarding paying Trump’s legal bills told The Post that the RNC approved the decision because James had made past remarks targeting the former president.
The source added that the organization is not paying legal fees related to the probe looking at Trump’s role in the January 6 riot.
Representatives from Trump’s office, Fischetti’s law firm, and the RNC did not immediately return Insider’s request for comment.
“As a leader of our party, defending President Trump and his record of achievement is critical to the GOP,” the party said in a written statement to The Post. “It is entirely appropriate for the RNC to continue assisting in fighting back against the Democrats’ never-ending witch hunt and attacks on him.”
This isn’t the first time the RNC has footed the bill for Trump’s legal fees. In 2017, Trump used campaign funds and funding from the RNC to pay his legal bills amid the investigation into alleged Russian interference in the US election.