As President Donald Trump grapples with criticism from federal prosecutors nationwide, lawyers and law firms are donating heavily to Democratic candidates and liberal causes.
Lawyers and law firms are still among Trump’s top 10 industries supporting his second presidential run. So far for this cycle, the industry contributed close to $1.8 million to the president’s campaign committee and allied outside groups through the end of January.
But the industry is inclined to bankroll top-performing Democratic presidential candidates such as former Vice President Joe Biden. Biden leads at the top of the pack with over $6.6 million in support from the industry, making it Biden’s top contributing industry.
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The legal industry also gave substantially to recent presidential drop out Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). Warren, a former Harvard Law professor, received close to $2.1 million from the industry. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) received more than $1.5 million from the field.
These numbers are expected to rise as the cycle continues. The legal industry has given $29 million to 2020 presidential candidates so far. In the 2016 presidential election, the industry gave nearly $60 million to candidates and outside groups.
After urging a leaner sentence for his ally Roger Stone, Trump recently came under fire from federal prosecutors accusing him of politicizing the Department of Justice, an agency traditionally intended to be insulated from politics. Trump’s involvement triggered multiple federal prosecutors working on the Stone case to withdraw or quit entirely in protest. Close to 2,700 former DOJ officials signed an open letter calling for Attorney General William Barr to resign following senior DOJ officials’ recommendation to give Stone a lighter sentence.
Trump received less than both Democratic presidential front-runners, barely raking in $13,000 from the Department of Justice’s employees. Employees of the DOJ gave the most to Biden. He received nearly $25,000 from DOJ employees. Sanders came in next with close to $15,000.
Trump faced backlash from within his inner circle over Stone’s sentencing. Attorney General William Barr pushed back at Trump’s involvement in the case in an ABC News interview last month saying, “I cannot do my job here at the department with a constant background commentary that undercuts me.”
The Stone case was not the first time Trump’s actions were criticized by the industry.
After the Mueller report was released, over 450 former federal prosecutors signed a statement asserting that Trump would be charged with multiple felonies for obstruction of justice if it were legal to indict a sitting president.
The legal industry’s dissension from Trump shouldn’t be surprising. When the industry chooses to spend, it traditionally gives more to Democrats than Republicans. The field supported Hillary Clinton over Trump. In the 2016 presidential election, Clinton and outside groups supporting her received over $41.5 million from lawyers and law firms. In the same cycle, Trump and allied outside groups received only $1.8 million.
In the current presidential race, Boca Raton attorney Keith Wold gave $250,000 to the pro-Trump super PAC America First Action. Washington powerhouse attorney John Dowd gave America First Action $20,000. After representing Trump in Robert Mueller’s Russian election interference probe, Dowd moved on to represent Lev Parnas, an associate of Rudolph Giuliani. Dowd poured another $20,000 into the Republican National Committee.
Active liberal political giver Joseph Frumkin of Sullivan & Cromwell gave $25,000 to the left-leaning American Bridge 21st Century. The liberal super PAC unleashed nearly $6.2 million in anti-Trump spending opposing the president’s reelection. Employees of Florida-based law firm Morgan & Morgan gave Biden and outside groups supporting him over $434,000. Those employed at another prominent law firm, Paul, Weiss et al, gave Biden more than $168,000 to support his White House bid.
Where Trump lacks in monetary support from lawyers, he makes up with million-dollar contributions from his other top industry givers such as retirees and real estate brokers.