With 2020 drawing near, the Trump campaign’s spending at its go-to law firm, Jones Day, rose sharply in the three months ending Sept. 30, climbing to about $1.3 million. The amount eclipsed the more than $525,000 the firm received in the previous six months, according to new disclosures filed late Monday with the Federal Election Commission.
The Jones Day billing accounted for nearly all of the campaign’s more than $1.5 million in expenditures categorized as “legal consulting” in the finance disclosure for the third quarter of 2018. Legal expenditures made up a fifth of the campaign’s total expenditures for the three-month period: $7.7 million.
After Jones Day, the highest-paid firm identified in Monday’s filing was one that had not previously appeared in Trump’s campaign finance reports: Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo. The firm billed the campaign $173,000 between June and September, according to the disclosure. The New York Times reported Monday that Mintz Levin has helped the Trump campaign’s first manager, Corey Lewandowski, respond to inquiries related to the investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
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The Trump campaign paid another firm—Larocca, Hornik, Rosen, Greenberg & Blaha—more than $40,000. The firm has represented Trump in litigation involving Stephanie Clifford, the adult film actress better known as Stormy Daniels, who has claimed she had an affair with Trump. The president’s onetime personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, has admitted paying Daniels, at the direction of then-candidate Trump, hush money in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.
Not listed in Monday’s disclosure was the litigation boutique Schertler & Onorato, which the Trump campaign had paid nearly $100,000 between January and June. The firm has represented Trump’s former bodyguard, Keith Schiller. His lawyer, Stuart Sears, also represents Sam Patten, the Washington lobbyist and political consultant who pleaded guilty in August to failing to disclose his lobbying work for a Ukrainian political party.
The campaign also paid the Trump Organization nearly $5,000 for unspecified legal work. Trump’s business had been paid about $30,000 by the campaign in the preceding six months.
Among the other firms paid by the Trump campaign were the management-side firm Seyfarth Shaw, which was paid $631; Van Hoy, Reutlinger, Adams & Dunn, which specializes in employment law; and Belkin Burden Wenig & Goldman. Each of those campaigns had been paid by the campaign earlier in the year.
Jones Day, taking in 80 percent of the campaign’s legal expenses, emerged again as the Trump team’s most relied-upon firm.
Trump’s ties with Jones Day run deep. His outgoing White House counsel, Donald McGahn, was a partner at the firm who served as the Trump campaign’s top lawyer in 2016. McGahn is expected to leave the White House soon, and could be replaced by Pat Cipollone, of the Washington firm Stein Mitchell Cipollone Beato & Missner. McGahn did not respond to a request for comment Monday on his future plans.
Elsewhere in his administration, Trump has turned to Jones Day for legal talent. His solicitor general, Noel Francisco, was an appellate lawyer at Jones Day before becoming the administration’s top advocate before the Supreme Court.
A former partner at the firm, Chad Readler, helped defend the travel ban as the interim head of the Justice Department’s civil division. In June, he was nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Another Jones Day veteran, Gregory Katsas, served as a Trump White House lawyer before being confirmed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.