CLC Files Complaint Alleging Illegal Payment Set-Up for Trump Legal Fees


Washington, D.C. — Today, Campaign Legal Center (CLC) filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) regarding an arrangement between the 2024 presidential campaign of Donald Trump, four other Trump-affiliated political committees, and Red Curve Solutions (Red Curve), an accounting and compliance firm. The arrangement seems designed to obscure the true recipients of a noteworthy portion of Trump’s legal bills and, in doing so, seems to violate federal law. 

Red Curve is a domestic limited liability company (LLC) that offers compliance and FEC reporting services but does not appear to offer any legal services. It is managed by Bradley Crate, who also serves as the treasurer for each of the five Trump-affiliated committees concerned in this complaint, as well as over 200 other federal committees. 

According to filings with the FEC, Red Curve appears to have been fronting legal costs for Trump since at least December 2022, with Trump-affiliated committees repaying the company later. This arrangement appears to violate FEC rules that require campaigns to disclose not only the entity being reimbursed (here, Red Curve) but also the underlying vendor. By not disclosing the vendors that actually provided legal services, the Trump-affiliated committees effectively blocked the public from knowing which attorneys and firms are being paid — and how much they are being paid — through this arrangement.  

The arrangement also appears to have violated the federal ban on corporate political contributions: Red Curve is an LLC, which — if treated as a corporation for federal tax purposes — would be legally barred from making any contributions, such as an in-kind contribution or advance, to Trump’s campaign and any other “hard money” committee — even if that payment or advance is fully reimbursed. 

Voters have a right to know how the presidential campaigns and other committees supporting presidential candidates spend their money. When campaigns and committees obscure that information from the public, not only do they make it difficult to determine if the law has been violated, but they deny voters the ability to make an informed choice when casting a ballot,” said Erin Chlopak, senior director for campaign finance at Campaign Legal Center. “The steps taken by the Trump campaign, its affiliated committees and Red Curve Solutions concealed information about how campaign funds were used to pay former President Trump’s legal expenditures, including the amounts and ultimate recipients of these expenditures — and the FEC must investigate immediately.”     

Between December 7, 2022, and March 18, 2024, Red Curve received 108 disbursements from these five committees — virtually all of which are described as “Reimbursement for Legal Fees” or “Reimbursement for Legal Expenses” — totaling $7,206,474.55. This appears to show that Red Curve was the largest single recipient of legal payouts from Trump since he left office in 2021. 

Without complete information about how the campaign of the presumptive Republican nominee for president is spending donors’ money on legal expenses, voters lack crucial information they have a right to know.

The FEC should investigate this urgent matter immediately.