Trump cracked down on alleged conspirators, whose false claims fetched $250 million
Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump arrive to speak to police gathered at a police fraternity lodge during a campaign event in Statesville, North Carolina, August 18, 2016.
Carlo Allegri | Reuters
Several of the lawyers who led President Donald Trump’s frenzied effort to overturn the results of the 2020 election have tried, and failed, to get paid for the work they’ve done for Trump’s political process, according to congressional investigators’ testimony and Federal Election Commission records. This is despite the fact that their lawsuits and false allegations of election interference helped the Trump campaign and allied committees raise $250 million in the weeks following the November vote, the House Select Committee to Investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol Riot said in its final report.
Among them was Trump’s closest ally, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Trump and Giuliani made a handshake agreement that Giuliani and his team would be paid by Trump’s political operation for their work after the election, according to Timothy Parlatour, attorney for Bernard Kerik, a longtime Giuliani ally.
But the Trump campaign and its committees ultimately did not honor that pledge, according to campaign finance records. Records show that Giuliani’s companies were only reimbursed for the travel and not the $20,000 per day he asked to be paid.
Parlatore also told CNBC that Giuliani’s operation was never compensated for its work. According to Parlatore, the failure to pay Giuliani and his team surfaced last week in a private interview between prosecutors on special counsel Jack Smith’s team and Kerik, a member of Giuliani’s team in late 2020.
“The lawyers and law firms who didn’t… got a lot of money and the people who worked recently got nothing,” Kerik complained In a 2021 tweet.
Giuliani’s attorney, Bob Costello, declined to comment further on the agreement, citing privileged conversations between his client and then-President Trump.
Trump has a long history of not paying his bills. But the revelation that he was likely to be hard on Giuliani, a longtime friend, is all the more surprising given that much of the work Giuliani did for the Trump operation is detailed in a sprawling indictment of RICO in Georgia released Monday, in which Giuliani was involved in the accused. Along with Trump and 17 other people.
The indictment details trips Giuliani took, phone calls he made and meetings he attended, all in service of what prosecutors say was a criminal plot to overturn the election.
Criminal or not, what is indisputable is that Giuliani and his team have done a lot of the legal and PR work for Trump. For more than two months, Giuliani acted as a public face for Trump’s election challenges, which ultimately failed.
However, these challenges helped Trump and his allies raise an unprecedented $250 million from small donors in the weeks after the November election, according to Final Congressional Report By the House Select Committee on the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. The money came in response to countless appeals for funds that it claimed were needed to fund Trump’s electoral challenges in court.
However, instead of paying the lawyers who tried unsuccessfully to reverse his loss, the money went to the Trump-led PAC, Save America.
according According to the House Select Committee’s final report, “After raising $250 million in false allegations of voter fraud, much of it from small donors, President Trump did not spend it running in an election he knew he lost.” Trump’s entire political network, including joint fundraising committees, spent more than $47 million combined from the beginning of 2020 through the end of 2021 on legal fees, according to a report by OpenSecrets.
Today, the money raised by Trump’s political process instead helps pay his legal bills in the criminal cases against him. Trump’s Save America PAC spent more than $20 million in the first half of the year alone on legal fees as the president faced the first two of his four indictments.
PAC started the second half of the year with only about $3 million cash on hand.
Sidney Powell, an attorney who was later disowned by the Trump campaign, participates in a news conference with President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani at the Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington, DC, November 19, 2020.
Jonathan Ernst | Reuters
Giuliani is not the only one Not charged One of the co-conspirators in the special counsel election case soured by the Trump operation.
FEC records and testimony from the Jan. 6 select committee hearings reveal that none of the private sector lawyers identified—but not indicted—in this case were paid for their work after the election: not Sidney Powell, Kenneth Chesebrough or John Eastman.
Giuliani and Eastman wanted a mix of reimbursements and payments, but records show they received almost none of that money. Powell had to turn to her law firm to pay her volunteers. All the while, Team Trump has racked up hundreds of millions of dollars from false allegations of election fraud promoted by Powell and Giuliani on TV and in court.
For his part, Chesbro told the House committee that the work he did for Trump’s team was pro bono.
On Monday, the four lawyers entered a new phase in their legal relationship with Trump, when they were charged alongside him in the Georgia Rico case.
Giuliani, Chesbro, Powell and Eastman are among more than a dozen defendants in the indictment filed against Trump in Georgia for attempting to illegally overturn the results of the 2020 election in the state and elsewhere.
Matthew Morgan, an election attorney for the Trump campaign, pointed out to the House Select Committee in 2022 that Giuliani had demanded $20,000 a day from Trump’s political operation to fight the election results. Working five days a week for two months, November and December 2020, this would have amounted to about $800,000 in legal fees.
But Giuliani never got it. According to federal records, two companies linked to the former New York City mayor received about $100,000 in travel fees and refunds from Trump’s operation. According to records, Kerik saw about $85,000 for travel expenses. But not a penny more than Team Trump for their services.
Longtime conservative attorney John Eastman had an alleged role in trying to derail the certification of the results of the 2020 election.
Attorney John Eastman speaks next to President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, as Trump supporters gather before the president’s speech to contest congressional certification of the results of the 2020 US presidential election on the Ellipse in Washington, D.C., Jan. 6, 2021.
Jim Borg | Reuters
Morgan told the House Select Committee that when Eastman first officially joined in December, he did so on a voluntary basis, but requested that the Trump team reimburse him.
Federal Election Commission records show that Eastman has not received a single direct compensation from the Trump campaign, despite that agreement.
Shortly after Jan. 6, 2021, Eastman requested payment “for services rendered,” according to Morgan’s testimony before the select committee. Although Morgan did not recall the quantity Eastman had requested, he said his understanding was that “the services requested were for the totality of all the work he had done for the campaign.”
Morgan told the committee that he sent the request to Justin Clark, a legal advisor to the Trump campaign.
FEC records show that no payments were made by any of Trump’s committees to Eastman.
Lawyers for Eastman declined to comment.
The fact that neither Giuliani nor Eastman were getting paid also reflected a deep post-election rift between senior staffers in Trump’s official campaign and the small group of lawyers pushing fringe theories about how Trump could reverse his loss.
A group of Trump campaign leaders and legal minds, sometimes referred to as the “Regular Team,” has pushed back against conspiracy theories promoted by outside lawyers.
In the end, the members of “Team Normal” had a say in the campaign portfolio.
Clark later recounted an email he received on Christmas Eve 2020 from Giuliani’s associates, asking for payment.
“My understanding is that I think these people were reporting directly to Mr. Giuliani, and when it came time to get paid, they were looking to me for money, and I was never in a position to be ready to write,” Clark told the House committee. People’s checks…we’re not going to just set fire to money to do things.”
Clark’s attorney declined to comment.
Sidney Powell is the third unnamed potential co-conspirator in Smith’s federal indictment, according to NBC News. She is also one of the defendants in the Georgia case against Trump and his allies.
Powell was one of the leading voices on Fox News Shortly after the election, he promoted the false claim that voting machine companies Smartmatic and Dominion Voting Systems were involved in plots to prevent Trump from becoming president.
Both companies denied the allegations and took Fox to court. This year, Fox settled the Dominion lawsuit, agreeing to pay the voting machine company an unprecedented $787.5 million. The defamation lawsuit Smartmatic brought against Fox remains open.
Powell later told the House Select Committee that her company, Sidney Powell PC, not the Trump campaign, paid aides who helped her pursue those election-related allegations.
“When the money was donated, I wanted to make sure they got that money,” she said in her interview with the House Committee. “That’s all I remember about this part. And I paid them.”
FEC records indicate that no payments were made from Trump and his allies to Powell’s law firm.
But her nonprofit group Defending The Republic has raised more than $16 million since the November 2020 election, according to the group’s 990 tax forms. However, the group has not disclosed its donors, and it’s not clear how much of that money has ended up in Powell’s personal coffers.
Powell did not respond to a request for comment.
This article originally appeared on www.cnbc.com