Trump’s legal bills, Ramaswamy’s self-financing, and four other tips from new campaign files

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Tens of millions of dollars in legal bills, extraordinary donations by some big names and a super PAC that spent nine figures on a failed presidential campaign:

New campaign disclosures released Wednesday show where the candidates and the various big money groups backing them have been up and where they stand heading into the 2024 election year.

From former President Donald Trump’s staggering legal spending to Vivek Ramaswamy pumping millions of dollars of his own money into his campaign just weeks before he ended his campaign, here are six key takeaways from the latest financial filings.

Trump’s legal spending of $50 million in 2023

The latest disclosures show that Trump, through 91 criminal charges across four criminal indictments and other civil trials, spent more than $50 million of political donor money on legal expenses throughout 2023.

As the legal battles escalated in the second half of last year, so did his legal spending, costing his two political action committees at least $30 million in legal bills from July to December, while his PACs raised only $6.6 million. During that period.

Save America PAC, the entity shouldering much of Trump’s legal bills, in particular, has had to obtain a more than $40 million refund from a Trump-backing super PAC to which it donated $60 million in 2022, amid sluggish fundraising Low cash available.

Photo: Former President Donald Trump, with attorneys Christopher Case and Alina Haba, attend closing arguments in the Trump Organization civil fraud trial at the New York State Supreme Court in New York City, January 11, 2024.

Former President Donald Trump, with attorneys Christopher Casey and Alina Haba, attends closing arguments in the Trump Organization’s civil fraud trial at the New York State Supreme Court in New York City, January 11, 2024.

Shannon Stapleton/Pool via AP

Healey was short of cash on hand, despite significant fundraising

However, even with the numerous legal expenses, Trump boasts a larger war chest than his main remaining Republican rival Nikki Haley, whose campaign and super PACs have reported modest funds available despite strong fundraising.

Pro-Haley super PAC SFA Fund Inc., in particular, entered 2024 with just $3.5 million in the bank even after raising $50 million in the second half of last year as many anti-Trump Republican donors rallied around it.

On the other hand, the pro-Trump super PAC, Make America Great Again, entered 2024 with $23 million, despite raising slightly less than the Haley-aligned super PAC and returning $42 million to the PAC Save America General the past.

Haley’s presidential campaign also entered 2024 with less than half of what the Trump campaign had in the bank this year, with the two campaigns respectively reporting $14 million and $33 million in cash.

Photo: US Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley attends a campaign event at Doc's BBQ in Columbia, South Carolina, February 1, 2024.

Republican US presidential candidate Nikki Haley attends a campaign event at Doc’s BBQ restaurant in Columbia, South Carolina, February 1, 2024.

Eric S. Lesser/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Biden and Democrats enter 2024 with $140 million

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden, the Democratic Party and their allies are heading into the 2024 election year with a whopping $140 million in cash.

That amount includes $46 million in cash available to Biden’s presidential campaign and $21 million to the Democratic National Committee, as well as $24 million to the Biden-aligned PAC Future Forward.

The Biden campaign and the Democratic National Committee have the advantage of being able to raise money together, which his Republican rivals cannot do at this moment, allowing Biden Victory — a joint big-dollar fundraising operation — to accept nearly $1 million per person. It raised $70 million in just the last three months of last year.

Photo: President Joe Biden meets with UAW members during a campaign stop at the phone bank at the UAW's Union 1 Union Hall, February 1, 2024, in Warren, Michigan.

President Joe Biden meets with UAW members during a campaign stop at the phone bank at Union Hall UAW Region 1 Union Hall, on February 1, 2024, in Warren, Michigan.

Evan Vucci/AP

A super PAC allied with DeSantis burned $130 million

The Never Back Down super PAC, which carried out much of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ presidential operation, donated nearly $97 million between July and December 2023 — and spent a total of $130 million throughout last year.

However, all that spending was not matched by the amount of money they brought in, as they only raised a total of $14 million in the final six months of 2023 — indicating a significant decline in fundraising as DeSantis’ poll number continued to decline against Trump. (He left the race in January.)

By the end of 2023, his major Super PAC allies had $14.5 million in cash.

More than $35 million in super PAC money was spent throughout last year specifically in Iowa — most of it on TV and digital ad placement as well as print and mail.

Photo: Ron DeSantis, Florida Governor and 2024 Republican presidential nominee, speaks during a campaign event at Never Back Down Iowa headquarters in West Des Moines, Iowa, January 13, 2024.

Ron DeSantis, Florida Governor and 2024 Republican presidential candidate, speaks during a campaign event at the Never Back Down Iowa headquarters in West Des Moines, Iowa, January 13, 2024.

Rachel Mumy/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Donors are funding Trump’s pro-RFK Jr. super PAC

Notably, a major Trump donor continued to fund a super PAC aligned with Robert F. Kennedy Jr. In the second half of last year, donor Timothy Mellon donated $10 million each to the pro-Kennedy PAC American Values ​​2024 and the pro-Trump super PAC Make America Great Again Inc.

New disclosure from Super PAC SFA Fund Inc. Haley is also allied with Republican donors who have rallied behind her as DeSantis’ fundraising slows — GOP mega donor Paul Singer, who has given $5 million to a super PAC, is one of them.

Ken Griffin, a major GOP donor, gave $5 million to Haley’s super PAC in December, his filing shows. The billionaire financier gave another $5 million to the super PAC in January, which will be featured in a future filing, Griffin’s spokesperson told ABC News.

Photo: Republican presidential candidate and former US President Donald Trump shakes hands with former Republican candidate Vivek Ramaswamy during Trump's primary night rally, January 23, 2024, in Nashua, New Hampshire.

Republican presidential candidate and former US President Donald Trump shakes hands with former Republican candidate Vivek Ramaswamy during Trump’s primary night rally, January 23, 2024, in Nashua, New Hampshire.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

How much self-financing did Ramaswamy and Philips do?

Last year was also a year in which some presidential candidates poured millions of dollars of their own money into their campaigns with relatively little success.

Ramaswamy, the businessman and commentator, in particular, loaned and contributed a total of $26 million of his own money to his campaign throughout last year, including $8.5 million he loaned to his campaign between November and December, but he ended his bid just weeks later. – On the night of the Iowa caucuses, where he finished in fourth place by a wide margin.

Democratic presidential candidate, Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnesota, has also largely self-funded his campaign, loaning $4 million to his presidential campaign last year while raising just $1 million from supporters.

According to averages of 538 polls, Phillips trails Biden by more than 50% nationally and in key primary states like Michigan and South Carolina.

Phillips lost to Biden, who ran a write-in campaign, in New Hampshire’s undeclared primary in January.

ABC News’ Gabriella Abdelhakim, Libby Cathy, Hannah Demissie, Fritz Farrow, Lali Ibsa, Nicholas Kerr, Will McDuffie, Kendall Ross and Kelsey Walsh contributed to this report.

This article originally appeared on abcnews.go.com

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