Trump campaign says it raised $141 million in May, surpassing Biden’s $85 million

Former President Donald Trump’s campaign and the RNC raised over $141 million in May, outpacing President Joe Biden’s campaign and Democrats, who said they raised a combined $85 million. 

The Biden campaign said it entered June with over $212 million cash on hand, as the month wrapped up with a flood of donations after the former president’s felony conviction

The full amount Trump had on hand in the same period is not yet known, since some of his committees don’t have to reveal what they raised until July 15. But according to what was filed, he and the RNC have at least $170 million cash on hand as they continue to catch up to the Biden campaign’s financial resources. 

After Trump was found guilty on May 30 on 34 felony counts in New York State for falsifying business records, his campaign kicked off a fundraising effort painting Trump as a political prisoner, galvanizing his base and raking in millions in small-dollar donations. 

The Trump campaign and RNC’s May figures cannot be confirmed until next month. 

According to FEC filings Thursday, the Trump campaign raised over $75.3 million and the RNC raised over $30.7 million in May, with the remaining money to be reported in July. MAGA Inc., a pro-Trump super PAC, raised over $65 million in May.

While Trump’s conviction has boosted donations, his legal bills have also continued to mount. 

Save America PAC, the political action committee that has paid a majority of Trump’s legal bills, spent over $3.6 million on his legal expenses in May, and since the start of 2023, Trump’s legal bills have topped $72 million, including over $23 million so far this year, a CBS News analysis shows.

The biggest donors

Outside groups for Mr. Biden and Trump both benefited in this period from an influx of tens of millions of dollars from some of their biggest individual donors.

Billionaire donor Timothy Mellon, the largest donor to PACs supporting Trump and independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and heir to the Mellon family empire, donated $50 million to MAGA Inc., the primary super PAC supporting Trump on the day after his conviction.

Mike Bloomberg, who spent about $1 billion on his own 2020 campaign, donated $20 million to help Biden this cycle, according to a source familiar. Nearly all of that, $19 million, went to the main pro-Biden super PAC “FF PAC,” otherwise known as Future Forward USA, on May 30 — the day Trump was convicted. About one million, the max of $929,600, went to the “Biden Victory Fund,” a joint fundraising committee for Biden’s campaign and other Democratic committees. 

The Biden campaign says its May haul was its second strongest month for grassroots donations $200 or less, which since the president launched his reelection effort, makes up 96% of his donations. 

Mr. Biden has enjoyed a clear advantage over Trump on advertising and battleground state staffing. The “Biden for President” committee has also spent at least $86 million on ads through Thursday — including part of a $50 million ad campaign it announced for the month of June alone. On Thursday, the campaign announced its 1,000th battleground staffer, and boasted over 200 field offices. 

“Trump couldn’t match our battleground infrastructure if he tried. While Trump’s team is desperately trying to spin their lack of infrastructure as ‘strategic,’ the bottom line is that Donald Trump cannot buy back the time he has lost – and invisible campaigns don’t win,” said Biden-Harris battleground states director Dan Kanninen.   

The week of Trump’s conviction, both Trump and Mr. Biden spent more on digital advertising than they had in any other week this year, according to data from FWIW, a newsletter tracking political ad spending.

Trump’s numerous civil and criminal cases have powered his fundraising over the past year. His most successful fundraising days, before his conviction, were the day he was arraigned for his “hush money” case and the day after his mugshot was released in a separate criminal case. The day after the conviction surpassed both of those, with his campaign said it raised $52.8 million in the 24 hours after the conviction.

Monthly fundraising is an area where Mr. Biden has maintained an advantage but while he still maintains an advantage in cash on hand, Trump has been catching up. Trump’s fundraising efforts surpassed Biden for the first time in April, when he raised $25 million more than the president. 

The Trump campaign has been capitalizing on the conviction, buying ads that characterize him as a “political prisoner” and the trial as “rigged.” Mr. Biden has also used the conviction in fundraising, calling Trump a convicted felon in recent TV ads and at his most recent fundraiser.

“For the first time in American history, a former president is a convicted felon,” Mr. Biden said Wednesday at an event with former President Bill Clinton. “But, as disturbing as that is, more damning is the all-out assault Trump is making on our system of justice.” 

Meanwhile, Trump’s WinRed fundraising page urges donors to contribute $100 if they think he “did nothing wrong” and says “YOUR SUPPORT IS THE ONLY THING STANDING BETWEEN US AND TOTAL TYRANNY!” 

Olivia Rinaldi contributed to this reporting. 

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