Biden’s political operation raises $51 million in April, a significant decline from March, but touts $192 million war chest | CNN Politics

Biden’s political operation raises  million in April, a significant decline from March, but touts 2 million war chest | CNN Politics

Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images

President Joe Biden speaks at the NAACP Detroit Branch annual “Fight for Freedom Fund Dinner” in Detroit, Michigan, on May 19, 2024.


President Joe Biden’s political operation raised $51 million in April — a significant decline from its March fundraising, according to totals released by his campaign Monday.

Biden’s campaign and affiliated committee still ended the month with $192 million in the bank, according to his aides — a war chest they described as the highest cash-on-hand figure for any Democratic candidate in history and one they say positions the president to compete effectively with former President Donald Trump.

Trump’s aides announced earlier this month that he had raised more than $76 million for his campaign and allied committees in April, after the GOP’s presumptive nominee ramped up his joint fundraising operation with the Republican National Committee and headlined high-dollar fundraisers, even as he spends parts of his week on trial in a Manhattan criminal court.

Biden’s political operation had announced raising more than $90 million in March, bookended by a fiery State of the Union speech at the start of the month and a high-profile fundraiser in New York at the month’s end that featured him with two of his predecessors, former Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

Fundraising has been one of the bright spots for Biden’s campaign as he battles persistently low poll numbers and close contests in key battleground states, and the slowdown is sure to cause consternation among Democrats. But Trump’s filings also highlight potential trouble spots for his campaign: His operation continues to spend heavily on helping the former president confront his legal troubles and relatively modestly on the day-to-day business of campaigning.

On Monday, Biden’s aides took pains to try to cast the slower fundraising pace in a better light, pointing to what they said were signs of enduring small-dollar support and organizational strength.

In a statement, Biden campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez said the April haul reflected “strong consistent grassroots enthusiasm for reelecting” Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. She said Trump’s campaign “continues to burn through cash” and has “no ground game.”

Biden’s campaign said April was the strongest month for recurring donors so far, with those contributors giving more than $5.5 million. They also said the campaign added a million more supporters to its email lists last month.

The Biden team said it has used its money to build a ground operation with more than 150 offices and more than 500 staffers across key battleground states.

Monday is the deadline for presidential campaigns and the national political parties to file monthly reports on fundraising and spending with federal election regulators.

Trump’s campaign aides have not released cash-on-hand totals for all the committees affiliated with his election effort, but Trump’s campaign report, filed Monday night, shows it ended April with $49.1 million remaining in the bank, only modestly better than the $45.1 million the campaign had in its war chest at the end of March.

Trump’s legal troubles continue to drain on his resources and time.

New filings show that Trump’s leadership PAC, Save America, spent $3.3 million on legal fees in April and ended the month with about $1.1 million in outstanding legal bills.

The PAC has spent about $15.6 million on legal fees this year alone, and nearly $80 million on those expenses since the start of 2021. The biggest payments in April – more than $900,000 – went to Robert & Robert, the firm that represented Trump and his family in the business fraud case brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James.

It was followed by more than $850,000 paid last month to the firm of Todd Blanche, the lead attorney handling Trump’s criminal hush money trial in New York. The PAC ended the month still owing another $837,000 to Blanche’s firm.

To help pay the legal bills, Save America has taken back money it once donated before Trump was a candidate to a Trump-aligned super PAC, called MAGA Inc.

In April, MAGA Inc. refunded another $2.75 million to Save America, once again diverting funds that could be used to help boost Trump candidacy to underwrite lawyers’ fees.

Save America now is one of the beneficiaries of a joint fundraising committee that Trump has with the Republican National Committee and state parties that raises funds from high-dollar contributors.

Both presidential candidates have been hitting the money-raising circuit in recent weeks. Biden is slated to appear at a Los Angeles fundraiser next month with Obama and actors George Clooney and Julia Roberts.

Monday’s filings also highlighted how a handful of wealthy people are providing the financial support to Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s longshot independent bid for the White House.

American Values 2024, a pro-Kennedy super PAC, took in $5 million last month – or more than 80% of all the funds it raised in the period – from Timothy Mellon, heir to a historic banking fortune and a major supporter of Trump and other GOP candidates and causes.

With his latest donation, Mellon has given the pro-Kennedy group a total of $25 million to date – prompting criticism from Democrats concerned about Kennedy’s potential role as a spoiler in the close contest between Biden and Trump.

Kennedy’s campaign, meanwhile, raised about $10.7 million in April – most of which came in the form of an $8 million contribution from his running mate, Nicole Shanahan, a wealthy Silicon Valley patent attorney.

This story and headline have been updated with additional information.

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