Trump's campaign spends on legal fees in 2024, as Biden spends on ads, staffing

President Biden’s campaign entered March with $71 million cash on hand, increasing his fundraising advantage — which is over twice what former president Donald Trump has.

The Trump campaign had over $33.5 million cash on hand to start the month, adding only about $3.5 million to its coffers as the campaign was forced to spend large sums on advertising, travel and campaign events to fend off Nikki Haley going into the March 5 Super Tuesday contests. 

Trump’s legal bills continue to mount as well, with his campaign and the super PACs supporting him spending over $10 million in 2024 alone on legal fees. 

Save America PAC, the political action committee paying for most of Trump’s legal defenses, spent over $5.5 million in February alone on legal bills, and so far this year, it has spent more than $8.5 million. The group carried about another $500,000 of debt owed to attorneys for Trump into March. 

Trump’s campaign also spent over $1.7 million on legal fees in the first two months of the year. 

Last year, Save America PAC and Make America Great Again PAC, the two political action committees paying for Trump’s legal defenses, spent nearly $50 million on legal bills.

Campaign finance reports from Mr. Biden’s campaign showed it raised $21.3 million in February and spent around $6.3 million. The Democratic National Committee raised $16.6 million in February — $6 million more than the Republican National Committee for the month.

Mr. Biden’s campaign says that in combination with the Democratic National Committee and affiliated joint fundraising committees, they entered March with a total of $155 million in their war chest. CBS News has not yet verified the total because the joint fundraising committees file on a quarterly basis. 

Over $2.5 million of the Biden committee’s campaign funds went to “DNC Travel Escrow” – a special escrow account that collects travel costs that will be sent to reimburse the U.S. Treasury for trips or portions of trips taken on government planes, helicopters and cars, according to the Associated Press. 

When Mr. Biden travels on Marine One helicopters, it costs $16,700 to $20,000 per hour, the AP noted, citing Pentagon figures. And Air Force One travel runs about $200,000 per hour to fly. This cost does not take into account military cargo planes that fly his armored cars and other vehicles, according to the AP.

The dates of the payments to the escrow account align with Mr. Biden’s trips to Nevada, Florida and New York for campaign events or fundraisers. 

Media buys and payroll took up the rest of the Biden campaign’s spending expenditures: $1.6 million was spent on media buys or production, while 141 staffers were listed as receiving payroll payments. His campaign says it’s looking to add 100 field staffers to the campaign in March, as well as a $30-million ad buy over six weeks. 

In contrast, the Trump campaign, the Republican National Committee and the political action committees supporting Trump had just over $74 million cash on hand to start the month. 

MAGA Inc., the primary super PAC supporting Trump, started March with over $25.5 million cash on hand after bringing over $12.7 million from wealthy donors in February.

But the RNC continues to lag behind its Democratic counterpart amid the group’s mass layoffs and new leadership, netting only an additional $2.6 million last month after expenditures. The group finally surpassed eight digits in their cash on hand, ending the month with over $11.3 million dollars.

Mr. Biden and his campaign have been taunting Trump’s campaign finance shortfalls, as they tout their head start in building up staff and travel.

“Just the other day, a guy came to me and said, Mr. President, I need your help. I’m being crushed with debt; I’m completely wiped out. I had to say, ‘Donald, I can’t help you,'” Mr. Biden joked at a Dallas fundraiser on Wednesday. 

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