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Biden’s fundraising slowed in April, but his stockpile of available cash is much larger than Trump’s, new filings show

By Fredreka Schouten, David Wright and Alex Leeds Matthews, CNN

(CNN) — President Joe Biden’s political operation raised $51 million in April – a significant decline from its March fundraising, according to totals released by his campaign Monday.

Biden’s campaign and affiliated committees still ended the month with $192 million in the bank, according to his aides — a war chest they described as the highest cash-on-hand figure for any Democratic candidate in history and one they say positions the president to compete effectively with former President Donald Trump.

Trump aides announced earlier this month that he had raised more than $76 million for his campaign and allied committees in April. The presumptive GOP nominee has ramped up his joint fundraising operation with the Republican National Committee and headlined high-dollar fundraisers, even as he spends parts of his week on trial in a Manhattan criminal court.

Biden’s political operation announced raising more than $90 million in March, bookended by a fiery State of the Union speech at the start of that month and a high-profile fundraiser in New York at the month’s end that featured him with two of his predecessors, former Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

In a statement, Trump campaign spokeswoman Karoline Leavitt said the former president’s fundraising performance was “especially remarkable when you consider he has been confined to a courtroom for nearly 9 hours a day over the past four weeks.”

The money he’s raised in April – along with polling – show “the momentum is 100% on President Trump’s side,” Leavitt said.

Fundraising has been one of the bright spots for Biden’s campaign as he battles persistently low poll numbers and faces close contests in key battleground states, and the latest figures are sure to cause consternation among Democrats. But Trump’s filings also highlight potential trouble spots for his campaign: His operation continues to spend heavily on helping the former president confront his legal troubles and relatively modestly on the day-to-day business of campaigning.

On Monday, Biden’s aides took pains to try to cast the slower fundraising pace in a better light, pointing to what they said were signs of enduring small-dollar support and organizational strength.

In a statement, Biden campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez said the April haul reflected “strong consistent grassroots enthusiasm for reelecting” Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. She said Trump’s campaign “continues to burn through cash” and has “no ground game.”

Biden’s campaign said April was the strongest month for recurring donors so far, with those contributors giving more than $5.5 million. They also said the campaign added a million more supporters to its email lists last month.

The Biden team said it has used its money to build a ground operation with more than 150 offices and more than 500 staffers across key battleground states.

Monday was the deadline for presidential campaigns and the national political parties to file monthly reports on fundraising and spending with federal election regulators, but the joint fundraising committees that each White House candidate relies on to bring in funds don’t have to file their disclosures with the Federal Election Commission until July.

Trump’s campaign aides have not released cash-on-hand totals for all the committees affiliated with his election effort, but his campaign report, filed Monday night, shows it ended April with $49.1 million remaining in the bank, only modestly better than the $45.1 million the campaign had in its war chest at the end of March.

Biden’s campaign ended April with $84.5 million remaining in its coffers, a significant advantage over Trump’s war chest. Still, the gap between the two campaigns has narrowed some since March.

Trump’s legal troubles continue to drain his resources and time.

The new filings show that Trump’s leadership PAC, Save America, spent $3.3 million on legal fees in April and ended the month with about $1.1 million in outstanding legal bills.

The PAC has spent about $15.6 million on legal fees this year alone, and nearly $80 million on those expenses since the start of 2021. The biggest payments in April – more than $900,000 – went to Robert & Robert, the firm that represented Trump and his family in the business fraud case brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James.

It was followed by more than $850,000 paid last month to the firm of Todd Blanche, the lead attorney handling Trump’s criminal hush money trial in New York. The PAC ended the month still owing another $837,000 to Blanche’s firm.

To help pay the legal bills, Save America has taken back money it donated before Trump was a candidate to a Trump-aligned super PAC, called MAGA Inc.

In April, MAGA Inc. refunded another $2.75 million to Save America, once again diverting funds that could be used to help boost Trump candidacy to underwrite lawyers’ fees.

MAGA Inc. raised nearly $12.8 million last month, boosted by a $10 million contribution from banking heir Timothy Mellon, who has also emerged as a major benefactor of Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s independent White House bid. In all, Mellon has donated $25 million to the pro-Trump group, FEC records show.

Both major presidential candidates have been hitting the money-raising circuit in recent weeks. Biden is slated to appear at a Los Angeles fundraiser next month with Obama and actors George Clooney and Julia Roberts.

Monday’s filings also highlighted how a handful of wealthy people has provided financial support to Kennedy’s long-shot run.

American Values 2024, a pro-Kennedy super PAC, took in $5 million last month from Mellon – or more than 80% of all the funds it raised in April.

With his latest donation, Mellon has given the pro-Kennedy group a total of $25 million to date – prompting criticism from Democrats concerned about Kennedy’s potential role as a spoiler in the close contest between Biden and Trump.

“MAGA Republicans are hellbent on propping up RFK Jr. to be a spoiler for Trump in this race,” Democratic National Committee spokesman Matt Corridoni said in a statement Monday. “This is even more proof that a vote for RFK Jr. is a vote for Trump.”

Kennedy’s campaign, meanwhile, raised about $10.7 million in April – most of which came in the form of an $8 million contribution from his running mate, Nicole Shanahan, a wealthy Silicon Valley patent attorney.

This story and headline have been updated with additional information.

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