Bartholomew County area residents are continuing to open their bank accounts to former President Donald Trump as he uses his network of political action committees to pay attorneys to defend him from a long list of felonies and lawsuits.

Local residents have made $91,152 in contributions since the first of four criminal indictments last year against the former president, according to records with the Federal Election Commission. That support has continued into 2024, with local residents making $45,414 in contributions to Trump’s PACs so far this year, according to preliminary FEC records.

The figures include contributions from Bartholomew County residents, as well as residents of neighboring communities in Jackson, Jennings, Brown and Decatur counties.

Currently, Trump is facing a money crunch amid mounting legal bills while he fights four criminal indictments along with a series of civil charges, The Associated Press reported.

Trump’s lawyers have received at least $76 million over the last two years to defend him, according to wire reports. Trump’s Save America PAC has accounted for the bulk of the payments, though the PAC has received transfers from other Trump PACs.

In March 2023, Trump was indicted on allegations that he falsified business records to pay off a woman who said she had an extramarital sexual encounter with him, as well as a Trump Tower doorman who claimed to have a story about a child he alleged Trump had out of wedlock, according to wire reports.

Trump was later indicted on charges that he conspired to overturn the results of his election loss to President Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election, participated in a scheme to illegally try to overturn his narrow loss to Biden in Georgia and that he illegally retained classified documents after he left office in January 2021, and then obstructed government demands to give them back.

In addition to his four criminal indictments, a judge has ordered Trump to pay a $454 million penalty, ruling in a civil fraud lawsuit that he lied about his wealth for years as he built the real estate empire that vaulted him to stardom and the White House, according to wire reports.

Trump also has been ordered to pay longtime advice columnist E. Jean Carroll a total of $88.3 million for his continued social media attacks against her over her claims that he sexually assaulted her in a Manhattan department store. That includes $5 million that a jury awarded her last year after finding Trump liable for sexually abusing her, according to the AP.

Trump has denied wrongdoing in all of the cases.

As the 2024 election approaches, Trump has a new fundraising agreement with the Republican National Committee that directs donations to his campaign and a political action committee that pays the former president’s legal bills before the RNC gets a cut, according to wire reports.

That makes it more likely that Republican donors could see their money go to Trump’s lawyers.

Trump’s daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, is the RNC’s co-chair. A Trump campaign senior advisor told the AP that the Trump campaign and the RNC are working to become essentially one organization.

Overall, Bartholomew County area residents have made $837,469 in contributions to Trump’s network of political action committees since he became the GOP frontrunner during the 2016 presidential election. That includes $151,971 in contributions since Trump left office in January 2021.

It also includes $47,818 in contributions that local residents made between Nov. 4, 2020, and Jan. 20, 2021 — after the former president called on supporters to chip in money for an “election defense fund” to challenge the results of the 2020 presidential election.

However, an analysis by The New York Times found that just a fraction of the money that Trump raised between Nov. 4, 2020, and Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20, 2021, funded recounts or other legal challenges. Some of the funds were used to defend Trump during his second impeachment, while the former president banked most of the money.

Nearly 40% of all local contributions made to Trump’s committees have come from people who identified themselves as retirees.
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