While most presidents generally wait until a little closer to the end of their terms to start thinking about reelection, President Donald Trump is already campaigning to keep his seat in the Oval Office once the 2020 election rolls around. And while most campaigns spend their fund, well, campaigning, it seems that in this, like many other things, the Trump presidency is unconventional. Donald Trump's reelection campaign spent over $800k on legal fees in 2018, according to a report from Buzzfeed News. Shocker.
In the less than four months of 2018, around $835,000 has been spent in "legal consulting" by the Trump campaign, according to fundraising reports filed with the Federal Election Commission. That's about 22 percent, or a little more than one-fifth, of the campaign's total spending. It's a big chunk.
According to the itemized list, payments for "legal consulting" were doled out to eight firms as well as the Trump Organization. According to CNN, the bulk of those heavy legal fees are going to the ongoing investigation into possible Russian involvement in the 2016 election, while the other legal payments are going into the battle with Stormy Daniels.
The Trump campaign raised a pretty impressive $10 million in the first three months of 2018. and, According to CNN, in the first two months, the Trump campaign paid $93,181.25 to the law firm of Charles Harder, who is representing Trump in the Stormy Daniels case. Trump is currently embroiled in a legal fight with Daniels, an adult film star who claims she had an affair with Trump in 2006 and was paid $130,000 by Trump's lawyer, Michael Cohen, to sign a non-disclosure agreement. (Trump has denied having an affair with Daniels, as well as denied knowing about the payment to her.)
Um. Shouldn't Trump be paying his own legal fees instead of taking money from the campaign to pay them? I guess if you're giving money to the Trump campaign, fully aware of Trump's ongoing legal battles, then you probably don't care about the funds being used for that.
There were also some other expenditures worth noting that were divulged in the fundraising reports.
In recent months Trump has started yet another feud, this time with online retailer Amazon. Starting in a March 29 tweet, the president expressed concerns that Amazon was "putting many thousands of retailers out of business."
Then on April 3, Trump tweeted that Amazon costs the United States Post Office a lot of money, and said that Amazon should be responsible for covering those costs and not "have them bourne [sic] by the American Taxpayer."
It's not like Trump needs a legitimate reason to have beef with anyone anyway, but in this case it looks likely that Trump's problems with Amazon come more from his problems with the newspaper The Washington Post, which is also owned by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
According to the fundraising reports, though, the Trump campaign made a hefty number of purchases from Amazon for office supplies, as Buzzfeed reporter Tarini Parti pointed out on Twitter. While it was not a whole lot of money — definitely not as much as the campaign paid for legal consulting — it's the principle of the matter, right?
Trump expressed concerns about the post office and the "American Taxpayer" having to carry the burden for Amazon, but he is feeding into the machine too. He's adding to that burden with every office supply purchase his campaign makes. Seems a little hypocritical, to me.
Putting the business with Amazon aside, buying office supplies for a campaign is a normal and totally OK use of funds. Just saying.