Donald Trump’s outside spending arm has paid $3 million to cover attorney Chris Kise’s legal work representing the former president, according to three people familiar with the arrangement.
The $3 million paid by Save America PAC is a significant sum, and comes as Trump faces a number of federal and state probes that will require substantial legal help.
It may not cover all the work Kise will do for Trump. Kise is representing the former president on both the Justice Department’s probe of the Jan. 6 attack and on the investigation of the sensitive documents Trump brought with him to Mar-a-Lago after his presidency ended.
Kise was previously Florida’s solicitor general, and has won multiple victories at the U.S. Supreme Court. He has close ties to Florida Republican politicians and is viewed as a competent and serious lawyer. Trump has long struggled to build strong legal teams, given his history of stiffing attorneys who represent him. Kise’s decision to represent him was viewed as a significant boon for the ex-president.
It’s unclear if the sum paid by Save America PAC is going directly to Kise or if it has been placed in an account that Kise will bill as he works for Trump. Kise left the firm Foley and Lardner and set up his own firm, Chris Kise & Associates, in order to take Trump as a client. Save America made the payment as he was going through that complex process, so it’s unclear if the payment went to a financial vehicle controlled by his brand new firm or one controlled by another entity.
A spokesperson for Trump and Save America did not respond to requests for comment. Kise did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Save America itself is facing scrutiny from the Justice Department. Last week, numerous grand jury subpoenas asked people in Trump world about the PAC’s fundraising and spending activities. The language in those subpoenas was broad, according to reports, and also asked witnesses for information about a host of people linked to Trump’s efforts to reverse the outcome of the 2020 presidential contest.
Trump set up Save America on Nov. 9, 2020 — two days after Election Day — and has used it as a key post-presidential fundraising vehicle.
Since its launch, Save America PAC has brought in more than $135 million. And its work has become a focus of the Jan. 6 select committee. In the panel’s second public hearing, as NPR detailed, Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) noted that Trump urged donors to support an “Official Election Defense Fund.” She said the committee learned that the fund did not exist, and that instead much of the money Trump raised in the wake of the election went to Save America.
Two organizations helmed by former top Trump White House aides have received checks for $1 million from Save America, according to the Jan. 6 committee. Former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows heads one of the groups, and former White House aide Brooke Rollins is the president and CEO of the other. The PAC also paid $5 million to the company that ran Trump’s rally on the morning of Jan. 6, according to the committee].
“Throughout the committee’s investigation, we found evidence that the Trump campaign and its surrogates misled donors as to where their funds would go and what they would be used for,” Lofgren said at the committee’s second hearing. “So not only was there the Big Lie, there was the Big Rip-off.”