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Graham legal trust fund spends more than $200,000 on Georgia probe

PACs affiliated with Senate colleagues help foot the bill

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., tapped his legal trust fund for $56,000 in the second quarter to meet legal costs related to the election investigation in Georgia. The latest spending was part of more than $200,000 he's drawn from the legal trust fund since he set it up in September 2022.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., tapped his legal trust fund for $56,000 in the second quarter to meet legal costs related to the election investigation in Georgia. The latest spending was part of more than $200,000 he's drawn from the legal trust fund since he set it up in September 2022. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Lindsey Graham continues to spend thousands of dollars on expenses that stem from the Fulton County, Ga., investigation into former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election in the Peach State.

The Lindsey Graham Legal Expense Trust Fund paid over $56,000 for legal services and other fees related to the inquiry during the second quarter of 2023, according to his most recent disclosure filed with the Senate Office of Public Records in July. After approval from the Senate Select Committee on Ethics, senators are allowed to open such funds to pay for legal proceedings related to their Senate work.

Graham’s trust fund spending is separate from the $630,000 that his principal campaign committee, Team Graham, Inc., has spent on legal services since he filed to establish the trust fund in September 2022.

Graham was subpoenaed by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis for testimony about his phone call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who has recounted that Graham asked if Raffensperger could reject particular absentee ballots.

Graham, R-S.C., fought the subpoena up to the Supreme Court, but ultimately had to testify before the special grand jury. Lawyers for Jones Day, including former Trump White House Counsel Don McGahn, represented Graham in that matter.

A Georgia grand jury indicted Trump and 18 others in August. The indictment alleges the group participated in a criminal racketeering enterprise to overturn the 2020 presidential election results. Graham was not among those charged.

Since the inception of the trust fund, Graham has spent more than $218,000 on legal services, accounting, compliance consulting and other fees linked to the Georgia probe. The fund has received more than $221,000 so far, and $150,000 of that has gone to Jones Day.

Between Graham’s campaign committee and his trust fund, he has spent $500,000 on legal work from Jones Day and more than $300,000 on legal work from Nelson Mullins Riley and Scarborough.

A spokesperson for Graham, Kevin Bishop, said in an email that one should “expect [the] legal defense fund to remain in operation until legal bills are paid.”

Donations to the trust fund are capped at $10,000 per fiscal year for both organizations and individuals. The rules prohibit donations from any Senate employee other than Graham. Contributions from the principal campaign committee of a senator are also not permitted.

Leadership political action committees (PACs) sponsored by senators are allowed to contribute to the fund. Twelve leadership PACs affiliated with his Senate colleagues together gave more than $95,000. Graham’s own leadership PAC donated $1,000.

Karl S. Bowers, Jr., the assistant adjutant general for air in the South Carolina National Guard, is the trustee of Graham’s fund. Bowers, also known as Butch, was set to defend Trump in his second impeachment trial, but left the team before the Senate trial started.

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