Trump fundraising with Republican National Committee to benefit group paying legal fees

Trump participates in a Fox News town hall with Laura Ingraham in Greenville

(Reuters) - A fundraising group that has spent tens of millions of dollars on Donald Trump's legal fees stands to benefit from a new fundraising tie-up with the Republican National Committee, according to media reports on Thursday.

Since clinching the Republican presidential nomination earlier this month, Trump can now raise money with the RNC ahead of the Nov. 5 election rematch against Democrat Joe Biden.

While he easily swept to the Republican nomination, Trump is facing a growing financial squeeze as legal judgments pile up and many major donors remain reticent about writing checks, sometimes due to concerns about donations going to legal fees.

Highlighting the urgency of his legal fees, the Trump 47 Committee directs funds to the Save America leadership group before anything goes to the RNC, an invitation to an April 6 fundraiser in Palm Beach, Florida, showed, according to media reports.

That could help replenish a fund that has spent more than $55 million on legal bills since the start of 2023 but risks running dry as a lifeline from another fundraising group comes to an end. To be sure, however, Save America can legally only accept up to $5,000 from an individual, limiting the boost from the fundraising tie-up with the RNC.

The Trump 47 Committee is asking top donors to contribute up to $814,600 in total, media outlets, including the Associated Press, reported. After Save America gets its share, the RNC would get a cut of up to $413,000. A raft of Republican state parties would then get a share too.

Trump campaign spokesperson Steven Cheung downplayed the amount going to Save America. "The Trump campaign, the RNC, and state GOP parties ultimately receive the overwhelming majority of funds raised through the Trump 47 Committee," Cheung said.

The news was first reported by the Associated Press. Reuters was not immediately able to obtain the invitation to the fundraiser.

Save America stepped up spending on legal fees last month, financial disclosures showed on Wednesday.

The group's main income during the month was a $5 million refund of money largely raised from small donors that it transferred in 2022 to the main super PAC backing Trump, MAGA Inc. The super PAC, a kind of political action committee (PAC) that can take unlimited contributions from wealthy donors, has now returned most the $60 million it received from Save America, suggesting that Save America may have a tougher time raising funds going forward.

Separately, Trump has been unable to secure a bond to cover a $454 million judgment in New York and runs the risk of the state seizing some of the Trump Organization's assets.

(Reporting by Alexandra Ulmer, Jason Lange and Nathan Layne; Editing by Stephen Coates)