Lawyers, Arizona candidates, Smithsonian portraits: How Trump's PAC spent almost $4M in July

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Former President Donald Trump’s fundraising machine, his massive fortune used to wield his political influence as he weighs another White House run, spent almost $4 million in the month of July, leaving it with just over $99 million in the bank.

A report filed Saturday night with the Federal Election Commission details how Save America, Trump’s leadership fund with loose spending restrictions, spent its money in the month of July.

Save America registered with the FEC days after Trump lost the 2020 election and has raised more than $100 million. The PAC has received money through fundraising efforts that spread false claims about the election and the FBI's search of Mar-a-Lago.

The House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol has scrutinized the PAC's spending because it received money donated in response to ads saying funds raised would be used to fight election fraud.

Here’s a look at some of the major recipients of money from Save America last month.

Event Strategies, Inc.

Save America paid $1.1 million to Event Strategies, Inc. for “audio visual services, event staging expense, and travel expenses.” Save America reported owing the company another $450,000.

Event Strategies is the same production company that helped put on the Jan. 6, 2021 rally near the White House that preceded the attack on the U.S. Capitol. On Save America’s monthly reports, Event Strategies is regularly listed as one of the highest paid.

Save America didn't specify the reason for the Event Strategies payments. Trump has continued to hold political rallies across the U.S. as he promotes candidates in state and federal races.

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An Arizona PAC that supported Kari Lake and opposed Rusty Bowers

Former President Donald Trump and candidate for Arizona governor Kari Lake in July.
Former President Donald Trump and candidate for Arizona governor Kari Lake in July.

Save America gave $200,000 to a state-level political action committee called the Arizona First Project on July 11 and 14, a few weeks before Arizona’s Aug. 2 primary. The donations were the only money the PAC received this year, according to a review of filings from the Arizona Secretary of State.

The Arizona First Project spent almost $100,000 on the state senate election, opposing Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers and supporting state Sen. David Farnsworth. Bowers, who lost to Farnsworth, testified in opposition to Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election in front of the House Jan. 6 committee.

The PAC also spent $81,000 supporting Trump ally Kari Lake, who won the Republican primary for Arizona governor.

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Nearly $1 million on lawyers

Former President Donald Trump speaks to supporters during a rally on August 05, 2022 in Waukesha, Wisconsin in front of a podium with  a Save America logo.
Former President Donald Trump speaks to supporters during a rally on August 05, 2022 in Waukesha, Wisconsin in front of a podium with a Save America logo.

Save America paid $964,000 to 13 firms for “legal consulting” in July. The sum is nearly double the $555,000 the PAC spent on legal consulting in June, at the height of the House’s Jan. 6 committee hearings.

The largest sum in July, $486,000, went to Habba Madaio & Associates, a firm whose lawyers have represented Trump in front of the New York Supreme Court and in a federal case in South Florida that alleges Democrats were conspiring to undermine his career through the investigation of Russian interference in the 2020 election.

The firm Silverman Thompson Slutkin & White received $36,000. A lawyer for that firm is representing Trump in his effort to halt the Department of Justice review of classified documents seized from Mar-a-Lago until a third party can oversee the review.

Where the money went: Trump committee raised millions to fight election fraud before Jan. 6.

A portrait at the Smithsonian

On July 14, Save America made a $650,000 donation to the Smithsonian Institution to pay for the former president and first lady’s portraits to be hung in the museum's portrait gallery. One additional private donor is giving money to the cause, according to the Smithsonian.

The FEC allows federal committees to make charitable donations to educational institutions like the Smithsonian, and allows leadership PACs like Save America to spend money on personal items.

However, funding for the previous two presidents to have their portraits hung in the Smithsonian came from dozens, if not hundreds, of named donors. The Smithsonian did not list any PACs that contributed to portraits of George W. Bush or Barack Obama.

Portraits of Trump and Melania: Smithsonian among latest spending for ex-president's Save America PAC

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Trump's Save America spent $4M in July, including about $1M on lawyers