Trump legal bills, Ramaswamy's self-funding and 4 more takeaways from new campaign filings

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Tens of millions of dollars in legal bills, unusual donations by some big names and a super PAC that spent nine figures on a failed presidential campaign:

New campaign disclosures released on Wednesday show what the candidates and various big-money groups supporting them have been up to and where they stood entering the 2024 election year.

From former President Donald Trump's eye-popping legal spending to Vivek Ramaswamy pouring millions of dollars of his own money into his campaign just weeks before he ended his campaign, here are six key takeaways from the latest financial filings.

Trump's $50 million legal spending in 2023

Juggling 91 felony charges across four criminal indictments and other civil trials, Trump spent more than $50 million of his political donor money on legal expenses throughout 2023, the latest disclosures show.

As legal battles ramped up in the second half of last year, so did his legal spending -- costing his two political action committees at least $30 million in legal bills from July through December, while those PACs only raised $6.6 million during that period.

Save America PAC, the entity footing much of Trump's legal bills, in particular, had to get more than $40 million in refund from a super PAC supporting Trump that it had donated $60 million to in 2022, amid slow fundraising and low cash on hand.

MORE: Trump spent more than $50M of his PAC and super PAC money on legal bills in 2023

PHOTO: Former President Donald Trump, with lawyers Christopher Kise and Alina Habba, attends the closing arguments in the Trump Organization civil fraud trial at New York State Supreme Court in New York City, Jan. 11, 2024.  (Shannon Stapleton/Pool via AP)
PHOTO: Former President Donald Trump, with lawyers Christopher Kise and Alina Habba, attends the closing arguments in the Trump Organization civil fraud trial at New York State Supreme Court in New York City, Jan. 11, 2024. (Shannon Stapleton/Pool via AP)

Haley had low on cash on hand, despite big fundraising

Still, even with the many legal expenses, Trump boasts a bigger war chest than his main remaining Republican challenger Nikki Haley, whose campaign and super PAC both reported modest cash on hand despite strong fundraising.

The Pro-Haley super PAC SFA Fund Inc., in particular, entered 2024 with just $3.5 million in the bank even after raising $50 million in the second half of last year as many of the anti-Trump Republican donors coalesced around her

The Pro-Trump super PAC Make America Great Again Inc., on the other hand, entered 2024 with $23 million on hand, despite raising a little less than the Haley-aligned super PAC and refunding $42 million back to Save America PAC last year.

Haley's presidential campaign also entered 2024 with less than half of what the Trump campaign had in the bank entering this year, the two campaigns respectively reporting $14 million and $33 million in cash on hand.

PHOTO: Republican US presidential candidate Nikki Haley participates in a campaign event at Doc's BBQ restaurant in Columbia, South Carolina, Feb. 1, 2024.  (Erik S Lesser/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)
PHOTO: Republican US presidential candidate Nikki Haley participates in a campaign event at Doc's BBQ restaurant in Columbia, South Carolina, Feb. 1, 2024. (Erik S Lesser/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

Biden and Democrats entering 2024 with $140 million

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden, the Democratic Party and their allies headed into the 2024 election year with a whopping $140 million in cash on hand.

That sum includes $46 million in cash on hand for the Biden's presidential campaign and $21 million for the Democratic National Committee, as well as $24 million for the Biden-aligned super PAC Future Forward.

The Biden campaign and the DNC have an advantage of being able to raise money together, which his Republican rivals can't do at this moment, allowing Biden Victory -- a big-dollar joint fundraising operation -- to accept nearly $1 million per person and raise $70 million in just the final three months of last year.

MORE: Trump and Biden go back-and-forth over swing state union's endorsement

PHOTO: President Joe Biden meets with UAW members during a campaign stop at a phone bank in the UAW Region 1 Union Hall, Feb. 1, 2024, in Warren, Mich. (Evan Vucci/AP)
PHOTO: President Joe Biden meets with UAW members during a campaign stop at a phone bank in the UAW Region 1 Union Hall, Feb. 1, 2024, in Warren, Mich. (Evan Vucci/AP)

DeSantis-aligned super PAC burned through $130M

The Super PAC Never Back Down, which carried out much of the Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' presidential operation, doled out nearly $97 million between July and December 2023 – and spent a whopping $130 million in total throughout last year.

All of tthat spending, though, was not offset by the amount of money they brought in, only raising a total of $14 million in the final six months of 2023 -- indicating a significant drop in fundraising as DeSantis' poll number continued to decline against Trump. (He left the race in January.)

By the end of 2023, his main allied super PAC had $14.5 million in cash on hand.

More than $35 million of the super PAC's money throughout last year was spent specifically in Iowa -- much of it on television and digital ad placement as well as printing and postage.

PHOTO: Ron DeSantis, governor of Florida and 2024 Republican presidential candidate, speaks during a campaign event at the Never Back Down Iowa headquarters in West Des Moines, Iowa, Jan. 13, 2024. (Rachel Mummey/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
PHOTO: Ron DeSantis, governor of Florida and 2024 Republican presidential candidate, speaks during a campaign event at the Never Back Down Iowa headquarters in West Des Moines, Iowa, Jan. 13, 2024. (Rachel Mummey/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Trump donor bankrolls pro-RFK Jr. super PAC

Notably, one of Trump's top donors continued to bankroll a Robert F. Kennedy Jr.-aligned super PAC. In the second half of last year, Timothy Mellon, the donor, gave $10 million each to pro-Kennedy super PAC American Values 2024 and pro-Trump super PAC Make America Great Again Inc.

The new disclosure from Haley-aligned super PAC SFA Fund Inc., also revealed which Republican donors have coalesced behind her as DeSantis' fundraising slowed down -- GOP megadonor Paul Singer, who gave $5 million to the super PAC, being one of them.

MORE: Haley to barnstorm nation on fundraising tour as South Carolina primary inches closer

Another GOP megadonor Ken Griffin also gave $5 million to the Haley super PAC in December, its filing shows. Griffin's spokesperson told ABC News that the billionaire financier gave another $5 million to the super PAC in January, which will be shown in a future filing.

PHOTO: Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with former Republican candidate Vivek Ramaswamy during Trump's primary night rally, Jan. 23, 2024, in Nashua, New Hampshire.  (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with former Republican candidate Vivek Ramaswamy during Trump's primary night rally, Jan. 23, 2024, in Nashua, New Hampshire. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

How much Ramaswamy and Philips have self-funded

Last year was also a year when some presidential candidates poured millions of dollars of their own money into their campaigns with relatively little success.

Ramaswamy, an entrepreneur and commentator, in particular, loaned and contributed a total of $26 million of his own money to his campaign throughout last year, including $8.5 million he loaned his own campaign between November and December, only to end his bid just weeks later -- on the night of the Iowa caucuses, in which he placed a distant fourth.

Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnesota has also been largely funding his campaign himself, loaning $4 million to his presidential campaign last year while raising only $1 million from supporters.

According to 538's polling averages, Phillips trails Biden by more than 50% both nationally and in key primary states like Michigan and South Carolina.

Phillips lost to Biden, who ran a write-in campaign, in the unsanctioned New Hampshire primary in January.

ABC News' Gabriella Abdul-Hakim, Libby Cathey, Hannah Demissie, Fritz Farrow, Lalee Ibssa, Nicholas Kerr, Will McDuffie, Kendall Ross and Kelsey Walsh contributed to this report.

Trump legal bills, Ramaswamy's self-funding and 4 more takeaways from new campaign filings originally appeared on abcnews.go.com