US election: Trump campaign spent nearly $9 million in bid to overturn result

Washington, United States - The eye-watering outlay involves a hefty sum paid to lawyers and consultants.

By Reuters

Published: Fri 4 Dec 2020, 11:21 PM

US President Donald Trump’s campaign paid nearly $9 million (Dh33 million) in its so-far unsuccessful bid to overturn the results of the presidential election, including nearly $2.3 million (Dh8.45 million) to lawyers and consultants who helped bring a series of longshot court cases.

Jenna Ellis, 36, the attorney who has been one of the most prominent faces of the Trump legal and public relations blitz, was paid $30,000 (Dh110,000) in November, according to a report the campaign filed with the Federal Election Commission late on Thursday.

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In October, Ellis, a senior legal adviser to the campaign, was paid $138,258 (Dh507,822), according to a previous filing.

Rudy Giuliani, Trump's personal attorney who has spearheaded the campaign's post-election legal efforts, does not appear in the disclosures.

Giuliani and Ellis have barnstormed a series of legislative meetings over the past couple of weeks to promote unsubstantiated claims that fraud was rampant in the November election and to urge state lawmakers to step in and declare Trump the winner.

Giuliani and Ellis did not respond to requests for comment.

Spokesmen for Trump’s campaign did not immediately respond to questions.

The FEC filing, which covers the period from Oct. 15 through Nov. 23, classified about $8.8 million (Dh32.3 million) in expenses as "recount" related.

Legal consulting was the campaign’s second-biggest recount expense, according to the disclosure report. The first was $3 million (Dh11 million) to pay the cost of a partial recount in Wisconsin that ended up increasing Biden’s lead by 87 votes. The third largest recount expense was nearly $2.2 million (Dh8 million) for text message advertising as the campaign bombarded his supporters with requests for money.

The legal effort has been a powerful fundraising tool. Trump’s campaign reported that it had raised more than $207 million (Dh760 million) since the election.

Trump’s attorneys have mounted a series of lawsuits in battleground states, hoping to persuade state and federal judges to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the November election. Despite the president’s repeated, and unsubstantiated, claims that the election was “rigged,” the court cases have focused on more narrow claims of mail-in voting irregularities.

Judges have largely rejected those claims. The US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit last week ruled against Trump in a case in which he was seeking to overturn the results of Pennsylvania's election, saying "Charges require specific allegations and then proof. We have neither here."

A law firm that has done extensive personal work for Trump, Kasowitz Benson Torres, the highest-paid member of the recount team, received $600,000 (Dh2.2 million) in November, according to the FEC filing. Kasowitz is not listed as counsel of record on any post-election lawsuits that the campaign has brought.

Marc Kasowitz did not return requests for comment.

Another firm, Marks & Sokolov, of Philadelphia, received $161,841 (Dh594,442). The company is best known for its work in Russia and Ukraine. The firm, for example, represents Ihor Kolomoisky, a Ukrainian billionaire.

“The Trump campaign has engaged our firm to provide legal advice,” Bruce Marks told Reuters, “I’m not going to discuss anything that’s not public about the work we’ve done for the campaign.” Marks said he first met Trump in 1994, when Marks was a state senator, and Trump came to a fundraising event.

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