Conservative Indiana-based lawyer Jim Bopp has long worked to overturn virtually any restrictions on political contributions and is best known for bringing the Citizens United case, which was decided in 2010 and pretty much obliterated what was left of campaign finance rules. So it’s not surprising that the Trump campaign hired his firm in August, paying it $25,000, as noted yesterday by Carrie Levine of Center for Public Integrity. He told her he’d be providing “strategic and campaign finance law advice.”
Incidentally, Trump is going to have a huge cash advantage for the 2020 campaign. He currently has $83 million in cash on hand, “far more than the $61 million then-President Barack Obama had in the bank at this point in 2011 during his record-breaking fundraising effort to keep the White House,” according to OpenSecrets.org. By comparison Bernie Sanders has $33.7 million, Elizabeth Warren $25.7 million, and Pete Buttigieg $23.4 million. Joe Biden has been burning through cash rapidly and is down to $9 million.
In 2016, when you throw in money from campaign committees and outside groups, Hillary Clinton raised $773 million, over $300,000 more than Trump. That’s unlikely to be the scenario next year as the Republican National Committee currently holds a huge edge over its Democratic rival. Both parties will raise piles in outside cash but Trump is likely to have more than any Democrat he runs against, especially with Bopp’s advice.
Not all of Bopp’s clients have been thrilled with his services. He represented former Illinois Congressman Aaron Schock, who resigned in 2015 during a federal investigation into his use of campaign funds, a lot which went to pay for personal expenses. Bopp’s firm, which helped him during the investigation, billed Schock about $250,000 for services worth about $30,000, a judge ruled last month.