By Ginger Gibson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign ended 2017 with $22 million in cash helped by $6.9 million in contributions in the fourth quarter of the year, his campaign announced on Wednesday.
Trump’s campaign spent $2.8 million in the final quarter of the year. Of that, $1.1 million went to legal fees, about the same amount spent the previous quarter. There were no payments to a lawyer who is representing Donald Trump Jr. and previously received more than $280,000 in payments from the campaign.
The bulk of the legal spending went to the firm Jones Day, which provides the routine legal services required by the campaign.
And $1.1 million was spent on digital advertising through the firm of Brad Parscale, who ran the campaign website and online fundraising during the 2016 election. The remainder of Trump’s expenses went to payroll for a small staff, travel and event costs.
Trump filed for re-election the day he took office, an unusual move for an incumbent president. Traditionally, incumbent presidents have waited until after their second year in office to begin their re-election campaign. Trump will stand for re-election in November 2020.
Trump’s campaign has a joint fundraising agreement with the Republican National Committee, which accounted for about $3.5 million raised in the final quarter of the year.
More than half of the donations made directly to his campaign came from contributors who donated less than $200.
“Never before has a president’s campaign committee raised so much in his first year in office, and never has a president enjoyed so much support from small donors who continue to rally around him,” Lara Trump, the president’s daughter-in-law and adviser to his re-election campaign, said in a statement.
At the end of former President Barack Obama’s first year in office, his campaign had about $8 million in cash, most of which was left over from his previous campaign and not the product of new fundraising efforts. Obama spent about $852,000 in the last quarter of his first year in office – $2 million less than Trump spent in the same time period.
Obama did not begin running for re-election until after completing two full years in office.