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Splurge on mail litigation: Data

Trump's campaign has paid more than $250,000 to Porter Wright Morris & Arthur over the use of drop boxes and other changes to Pennsylvania’s balloting procedures
Donald Trump
Donald Trump
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Reuters   |   Washington   |   Published 30.09.20, 02:14 AM

US President Donald Trump’s campaign is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on lawyers to litigate voting by mail, including in the battleground state of Pennsylvania, Federal Election Commission (FEC) data showed.

The campaign paid more than $250,000 to Porter Wright Morris & Arthur, the law firm representing it in lawsuits over the use of drop boxes and other changes to Pennsylvania’s mail-balloting procedures, according to the data.

In the November 3 elections, more voters are expected to cast their ballots by mail instead of in person because of the novel coronavirus pandemic but Republican Trump has repeatedly linked mail-in voting to voter fraud without providing evidence.

More than 200 election-related lawsuits have been filed, many of them focusing on mail-in ballots, which Democrats are more likely to use, according to some opinion polls.

Porter Wright did not respond to requests for comment. Trump campaign spokesperson Thea McDonald declined to comment.

The Trump campaign in August paid out over $980,000 for legal services that month compared to about $332,000 in July, FEC data showed. It has spent over $3.9 million on legal services between March, when Joe Biden began to emerge as the leading Democratic presidential contender, and August, according to the data.

Biden’s campaign by comparison spent about $660,000 on legal services during that period, the data showed. Nearly $472,000 went to the campaign’s outside general counsel firm Covington & Burling, home to former Obama administration attorney-general Eric Holder.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled on September 17 that state officials could accept mail-in ballots up to three days after November 3, as long as they were mailed by Election Day.

Porter Wright, which has most of its offices in election battleground states Pennsylvania, Florida and Ohio, was in August the Trump campaign’s second highest paid firm. The top paid firm was Jones Day, the campaign’s outside general counsel.

Jones Day, which also has attorneys working on the Pennsylvania litigation, court records show, got nearly $350,000 in August — its biggest monthly payment from the Trump campaign this year, according to FEC data.

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