DNC paid Biden’s legal bills during Hur investigation

DNC paid Biden’s legal bills during Hur investigation

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) paid for President Biden’s legal fees surrounding the investigation into his handling of classified documents even as his own campaign railed against former President Trump for using campaign donations to pay for similar services.

Axios first reported that Biden used campaign donations for the fees, citing two people familiar with the matter and campaign finance records. It found the DNC paid more than $1.5 million to the president’s personal lawyer, Bob Bauer, and the firm Hemenway & Barnes LLP.

Federal Election Commission records show the first payment to Hemenway & Barnes LLP was $15,000 in January 2023, after the news that classified documents were discovered first broke. The first payment to Bob Bauer PLLC was $150,000 in July of that year.

The Hemenway & Barnes LLP payments increased to $100,000 in July, and the amounts to both parties fluctuated until late February, when the special counsel concluded the investigation.

Bauer, who was part of Biden’s legal team that in February decried special counsel Robert Hur’s report as “inappropriate” for portraying the president as lacking memory of key life events, was also paid by President Obama in 2009. His law firm made nearly $1.5 million from Obama’s presidential campaign, Politico reported at the time.

The Biden campaign has hit Trump for months for trailing the incumbent in fundraising and for using campaign donations to pay for the former president’s mounting legal bills, though Biden’s cost are a fraction of Trump’s.

The DNC, when asked about the payments, argued that the situation can’t be compared to Trump, who has spent roughly $50 million total on legal fees in 2023.

“There is no comparison – the DNC does not spend a single penny of grassroots donors’ money on legal bills, unlike Donald Trump, who actively solicits legal fees from his supporters and has drawn down every bank account he can get his hands on like a personal piggy bank,” DNC spokesperson Alex Floyd said.

Trump in March launched a joint fundraising agreement with the Republican National Committee that will send donations to his campaign and a PAC covering his legal bills before they go toward the party itself.

Trump’s Save America PAC has so far spent millions of dollars paying Trump’s lawyers. The former president faces charges in four separate criminal indictments in addition to a civil business fraud trial and a civil defamation case that had him facing millions of dollars in penalties.

Last month, the Biden campaign tried out the nickname “Broke Don” for Trump to highlight his lagging fundraising numbers.

Biden has poked fun at him over the amount of money Trump owes in penalties stemming from the two New York civil cases, telling donors at fundraisers recently that “a defeated man” came up to him and said, “I’m being crushed by debt.”

Taylor Giorno contributed.

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