Donald Trump is confronting financial headwinds as he mounts his 2024 presidential run. New filings show his political committees raised just $13.8 million in January while burning through cash on legal bills, presenting a dire picture of the campaign’s viability.

Fundraising Drought Hits Trump Committees

Trump’s main political vehicles took in an anemic $13.8 million last month, a surprisingly low sum for someone seen as the Republican frontrunner. The paltry haul hints at waning enthusiasm among donors after his recent legal troubles and electoral defeats.

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The lackluster fundraising has left Trump’s political war chest depleted, with just $36.6 million in cash reserves across committees. That’s a fraction of President Biden’s $132 million stockpile amassed with the DNC, foreshadowing a possible financial disadvantage for Trump as the race progresses.

Big Spending on Legal Fees Draining Trump Coffers

A prime culprit behind Trump’s money troubles is astronomical spending on lawyers, with his committees doling out $3.7 million in legal bills last month alone. One vehicle still owes nearly $2 million in unpaid attorney fees, highlighting the financial strain from Trump’s endless lawsuits.

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Legal fees have totaled over $80 million across Trump’s political apparatus over the past two years, IRS records indicate. Experts say the eye-popping sums could scare off Republican donors worried about bankrolling Trump’s legal woes rather than his campaign.

Trump Claws Back Cash from Super PAC to Stay Afloat

With fundraising drying up, Trump has relied on refunds from a supportive super PAC to stay solvent. His Save America PAC took in $5 million last month from the Make America Great Again super PAC, which it had initially seeded with $60 million in 2022.

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The controversial money shuffling let Trump retrieve almost $47 million so far. But ethics watchdogs have decried the tactic as a circumvention of contribution limits. There are also questions about the sustainability of depending on super PAC refunds instead of grassroots fundraising.

Trump Burned Through $1 Billion War Chest in 2020 Race

Trump is no stranger to money troubles, having frittered away a massive $1 billion campaign account in 2020 with little electoral gain. His current financial bind echoes the waste and mismanagement that hindered his reelection bid despite entering with a large cash advantage.

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Critics contend Trump failed to wisely invest his record fundraising sums in 2020 and could be repeating past mistakes. The depleted reserves today signal his 2024 bid is operating on unstable footing before even officially launching his campaign.

Rivals Seize on Trump’s Cash Crunch

Smelling blood in the water, Trump’s rivals for the Republican nomination are highlighting his financial vulnerabilities. Primary challenger Nikki Haley directly called out his monetary woes after her campaign raised nearly $3 million more in January.

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Haley’s team gloated Trump is burdened by “endless drama and legal bills” that will “deplete the Republican Party and bring even more electoral losses.” The fundraising gap shows Haley gaining steam while Trump’s support is perhaps dimming among donors leery of writing checks.

Trump Eyes RNC Takeover Amid Own Committee’s Money Troubles

As Trump’s committees falter, he is angling to gain control of the Republican National Committee’s resources by installing his daughter-in-law at the helm. But the RNC is coping with its financial strains, reporting just $8.7 million cash-on-hand after logging its worst fundraising year in decades.

Source: Wikimedia/Noah Wulf

If he captures the nomination, Trump would gain access to enhanced party funds. But some party officials privately worry he will drag down the GOP financially by offloading his legal debts onto the RNC. Concerns are mounting about the monetary havoc Trump may wreak.

Legal Quagmire Diverts Cash from Actual Campaign

Analysts say the deluge of money toward covering Trump’s legal tribulations comes at the expense of building campaign infrastructure and organizing. Only a sliver of recent fundraising has gone toward traditional electioneering activities.

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This underscores how Trump’s continuous battling of lawsuits is hamstringing his early campaign operations. Until he resolves his legal exposure, the financial bleeding may continue apace, obstructing his path back to the White House.

Democrats Rejoice in Trump’s Dire Financial Situation

Gleeful Democrats are seizing on fresh signs Trump’s anticipated White House comeback is floundering out the gates thanks to precarious funding. They contend his campaign will be catastrophically underpowered financially against Biden’s well-resourced political behemoth.

Source: Wikimedia/The White House

But Trump has a documented history of reviving his political fortunes in times of scandal and adversity through small donor appeals. If he captures the nomination, the RNC machinery would also bolster funding. So Democrats may be counting Trump out too soon.

Legal Storm Clouds Loom Headed Toward 2024

With Trump still facing significant legal vulnerability on multiple fronts, his legal bills are unlikely to dissipate. There is potential for even higher costs as several probes and cases intensify heading into the election cycle, swallowing more campaign funds.

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It raises the specter of Trump draining his war chest dry before the general election even starts due to his ongoing court fights. That scenario would be financially ruinous and require a major retooling of his 2024 operation to stand any chance against well-positioned Democrats.

Fundraising Rebound Possible but Uncertainty Reigns

Despite his present financial woes, Trump still has opportunities to replenish his campaign coffers, perhaps even dramatically. If he catches fire with voters again, donation dollars could start gushing in like the good ol’ days. But that is a big if with legal clouds enveloping him.

Source: Wikimedia/Gage Skidmore

With the former president facing stiff fundraising headwinds from all directions, whether he can rebuild stable financial footing for his White House ambitions remains deeply uncertain. An enduring failure to do so may exact lasting damage on his hopes of reclaiming power.