Trump Campaign to President and Staff: No More Legal Funding

November 21, 2017, 10:44 AM UTC

The Trump campaign is closing the tab on legal fees.

President Trump has started paying his legal fees out of his own pocket and his campaign is setting up a legal defense fund for staffers under investigation in relation to their activities during the 2016 campaign. Earlier this year, Trump said he had personally paid legal fees for some of his staff.

The involvement of Trump and his campaign in the legal expenses of his staff has raised ethical questions in Washington. Former Director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics Walter Shaub questioned whether the funds could affect the testimony of those involved.

The campaign has already spent more than $2 million in legal fees this year. Donald Trump Jr. alone has racked up a $287,924 bill, not including the $166,527 the Republican National Committee paid Trump Jr.’s lawyer in September.

There is still a lack of clarity about how a legal defense fund might function, who could benefit from it, and even whether President Trump or the Trump Organization could contribute to the fund. It’s possible that it will only be available to official employees of the campaign, which could cause problems for people like Paul Manafort and George Papadopoulos who were never officially paid by the campaign.