WASHINGTON — Donald J. Trump’s first campaign finance report in July 2015 revealed a shoestring operation run by a handful of loyalists working from a two-room suite in Trump Tower and funded almost entirely by $1.8 million in loans from the candidate.
More than three years later, the picture is starkly different. Reports filed this week show that President Trump sits atop a sophisticated data-driven fund-raising machine that has already brought in more than $106 million — a majority of which came from small donors, with none coming from Mr. Trump’s own pocket — and has spent more on his “Make America Great Again” hats, $2 million, than his 2016 effort had spent on the entire campaign in its first report.
Even after the costly investments in digital advertising, data analytics and other tools of modern campaigning, the three committees that make up Mr. Trump’s campaign apparatus entered this month with a remarkable $47 million in the bank, according to their filings with the Federal Election Commission.
That far surpasses the early nest eggs accrued by previous first-term presidents in the modern campaign finance era — none of whom had even started raising re-election money before their first midterm elections — and it gives Mr. Trump a huge lead over any prospective rivals.
But the stockpiling has prompted grumbling among some Republican strategists, who contend — mostly in private — that the cash would be better allocated to the party’s at-risk congressional candidates, many of whom are being drastically outraised by their Democratic opponents.
Mr. Trump, they argue, does not need the money now as much as the party’s congressional candidates, both because he will not face voters again for more than two years, and because he won his 2016 campaign more by relying on his megarallies and Twitter feed than on pricey campaign infrastructure.
Even some of Mr. Trump’s defenders admit that his brisk early fund-raising and spending may be more about self-preservation than about bolstering the party.
“The president is concerned about keeping his power, and part of his power is the money, and the small donors,” said Sam Nunberg, one of the first employees of Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign. Mr. Nunberg is now a senior adviser to a political action committee started by Mr. Trump’s former chief strategist in the White House, Stephen K. Bannon, which is mounting a midterm effort urging voters to support candidates who aligned with Mr. Trump to save the president from a possible impeachment push by Democrats.
“It was important for the president to build this massive operation for his re-election to demonstrate that it would be a fool’s errand for anyone inside the party to try to primary him, and because we don’t know what’s going to happen in the House with a possible impeachment,” Mr. Nunberg said.
But he also said that “one of the reasons that Republicans have been outraised, particularly in the House, is because of the massive amount of money going to the president. That could flip a seat or two.”
Mr. Trump’s political team said he had been crisscrossing the country appearing at dozens of rallies with candidates in key swing states and districts, most of which have included a fund-raising component.
But some Republicans have questioned how much the rallies are helping the party, noting that the president often focuses more on himself and his 2020 re-election effort than on the congressional candidates he is ostensibly there to boost. They often get little more than a cameo during stem-winding speeches by Mr. Trump that not infrequently veer into terrain that vulnerable Republican candidates might prefer to avoid.
Mr. Trump’s campaign committees have footed the bills for those rallies, spending more than $2.1 million on expenses related to them, according to the filings with the election commission.
The reports also show that Mr. Trump’s campaign committee donated a total of $214,000 to more than 100 Republican congressional candidates in late July.
And he has headlined fund-raisers for the National Republican Congressional Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee. His political team estimates that his efforts have yielded more than $100 million for Republican candidates for House, Senate and governor, though there is no way to independently corroborate that claim through election commission records.
The records show that two joint committees that Mr. Trump’s campaign formed with the Republican National Committee — Trump Victory and Trump Make America Great Again — have transferred more than $21 million to the national party and Republican state party committees to help with the midterms
But that is substantially less than the $35 million that the joint committees have transferred to Mr. Trump’s own campaign.
Compared with past presidents, Mr. Trump’s fund-raising efforts — which also include appearing at events for unlimited-money outside groups formed to help advance his agenda and allies — appear to be weighted more toward his own political ends than his party’s, said Michael J. Malbin, the executive director of the Campaign Finance Institute, a nonpartisan think tank that analyzes campaign fund-raising and spending.
“It is not unusual for presidents to focus on their own political needs and interests, but I do not remember past presidents being quite so focused before their first midterm,” Mr. Malbin said. “Given the importance of majority control to his future agenda, I would have expected the balance to lean more heavily toward the key tossup races for the Senate and House.”
Mr. Trump dismissed this month the prospect that he might bear some responsibility if his party loses big in next month’s midterms, asserting that his rallies and endorsements have provided more of a boost than candidates have received from past presidents.
“I don’t believe anybody’s ever had this kind of impact,” Mr. Trump told The Associated Press in an Oval Office interview. Mr. Trump added that “in the old days,” the support of a president “would be nice to have, but it meant nothing, zero. Like literally zero. Some of the people I’ve endorsed have gone up 40 and 50 points just on the endorsement.”
But Alex Conant, a Republican strategist who advised Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, one of Mr. Trump’s rivals, in his 2016 bid for the White House, argued that Mr. Trump had hurt his party’s fund-raising during his first year in office by repeatedly clashing with congressional Republicans.
“Helping congressional Republicans hasn’t been a priority for Trump until the last few weeks,” Mr. Conant said. “Nobody faults him for raising money for his re-election campaign, but if Democrats win it may be the most costly fund-raising a president’s ever done.”
In all, the Trump committees have spent more than $13.7 million on digital consulting, online advertising and data-related services — making that among the top areas of spending. That spending highlights the differences between Mr. Trump’s re-election bid and his first campaign, which initially resisted spending heavily on political data tools that have become essential to most modern campaigns. This time around, the spending reports indicate, Mr. Trump’s campaign intends to focus heavily on using data to mobilize and raise money from supporters through social media, text and email targeting.
The campaign recently began shifting much of its online and advertising spending to a company it formed as a clearinghouse for such expenditures, American Made Media Consultants, which has been paid $1.7 million since May, according to the election commission filings.
Another major area of spending has been legal fees, on which the Trump committees have spent more than $6 million, owing both to the routine costs of election law compliance, and to efforts to respond to the continuing investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign.
And the committees have paid more than $860,000 to Mr. Trump’s companies for everything from rent to catering to office supplies.