Republican Party agrees to pay $1.6m of Trump’s legal bills in ‘highly unusual’ move

It is not normal for a political party to pay legal expenses for a former president’s private business

Andrew Feinberg
Washington, DC
Friday 17 December 2021 21:16
<p>Trump Tower en la ciudad de Nueva York</p>

Trump Tower en la ciudad de Nueva York

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Former president Donald Trump is getting more help paying his legal bills from the Republican National Committee.

According to TheWashington Post, the RNC has signed on to shoulder up to $1.6m towards the costs incurred by Mr Trump in the course of civil and criminal investigations into his eponymous real estate businesses.

The investigations are being conducted by New York State Attorney General Letitia James and outgoing Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance Jr, both of whom are examining whether the Trump Organization broke New York laws laws by over or underreporting the value of various pieces of real estate for tax or insurance purposes.

Mr Trump has not been accused of any wrongdoing in either probe, but a Manhattan grand jury indicted his company and its longtime chief financial officer, Alan Weisselberg, this summer on charges that they’d carried out a long-running scheme to avoid paying taxes on employee compensation.

In a statement to the Post, GOP spokesperson Emma Vaughn said the RNC’s executive committee signed off on approving “certain legal expenses that relate to politically motivated legal proceedings waged against President Trump”.

“As a leader of our party, defending President Trump and his record of achievement is critical to the GOP. It is entirely appropriate for the RNC to continue assisting in fighting back against the Democrats’ never ending witch hunt and attacks on him.”

The Post described the move as “highly unusual” given Mr Trump’s status as a former president and as a potential candidate in the 2024 presidential primary. Because the current president is not a Republican, the RNC is bound by its own bylaws to remain neutral in any primary contest.

Doug Heye, a former RNC spokesperson and a critic of Mr Trump, told the Post he does not think GOP donors will complain much even though their money is being used to subsidize a putative billionaire’s legal expenses.

“Some will grumble privately, but most won’t say anything, and a lot of them will be good with it,” he said.

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