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Trump's political operation, spending heavily on legal expenses, starts 2024 with $42M

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks after meeting with members of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters at their headquarters in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2024. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former President Donald Trump's political operation amassed about $130 million in the final months of last year but after spending heavily, headed into 2024 with more than $42 million to start the election year.

New campaign finance reports filed Wednesday showed that across four committees that make up Trump's political operation, he ended 2023 having spent about $86 million, with tens of millions of that being diverted to pay legal expenses.

Trump's main campaign committee closed out the year with about $33 million. Meanwhile, President Joe Biden's primary campaign account reported starting 2024 with $46 million to spend.

Biden's political operation reported raising $97.1 million in the final months of 2024 across the various committees it uses to fundraise and ended the year with $117.4 million on hand.

That includes fundraising numbers for the Democratic National Committee, which partners with the incumbent president. Biden's campaign said December, which included a star-studded fundraising blitz, was his strongest fundraising month to date.

Though Trump is the Republican frontrunner, he does not enjoy many of the same fundraising advantages as Biden. For example, Biden, through a joint agreement with the Democratic National Committee, can collect checks from individual donors worth almost as much as $1 million, far greater sums through a joint operation with the Democratic National Committee. That sky-high limit won’t be available to Trump unless he clenches the nomination and enters into a similar arrangement with the Republican National Committee, which started 2024 with only $8 million on hand.