Mike Berman’s Washington Watch

April 28, 2012 8:56 AM

The Money

The following is an attempt to summarize campaign fundraising and expenditures for selected Presidential campaigns, national Party organizations, and the larger Super PACs. The data does not include State political parties, 501c (4)s, or 527s. Some of the Super PACs will also spend money on other Federal or State races.

Information in this issue of the Watch is based on information from the Center for Responsive Politics, which, frankly, is an easier source of gross fundraising and spending information than Federal Election Commission reports.

All of which is to say that the picture painted is pretty accurate, but not perfect.

The Obama campaign has raised $191 million through the end of March. This is roughly $46 million less than the $237 million the campaign raised through the 1st quarter of 2008. In the first quarter of 2008 the campaign raised $133 million. This year it raised $52.2 million.

The campaign has spent $89.9 million and has a net $103.8 million on-hand on April 1st.

While they are running behind in their fundraising, the demand timing of the money is different than it was in 2008. There is no primary campaign. All of the campaign’s expenditures are directed to the general election.

In the 2007-08 cycle (through 11/24/08) the Obama campaign raised $778 million and spent $760 million. To reach that amount, the campaign has to raise $586.3 million between now and the 2012 election. This amounts to just under $84 million per month.

None of the above includes the amount that has been raised for the Democratic National Committee, most of the resources of which will be dedicated to the President’s re-election. Recently, the campaign informed the House and Senate leadership that they should not expect to receive any help from the DNC during this cycle. To date, the DNC has raised $175.7 million and has $38.4 million on hand.

The Romney campaign raised $86.6 million through the end of March, and has spent $76.6 million leaving a net $10.1 as April 1st. The Romney campaign spent $11.5 more than the other three Republican candidates in the field at the end of March.

Now the money chase begins in earnest. The Romney campaign has connected up with the Republican National Committee in a joint fundraising effort. Overall, in 2008 the Obama campaign spent just over twice as much during the whole cycle than did John McCain. That will not happen this time around.

Fundraising / Spending / Available Cash 2011 - 12 Cycle (in millions of dollars)

  Raised Spent 4/1 Net Cash
Republican Candidates
Romney 86.4 76.6 10.1
Santorum 20.6 18.8 -0.18
Gingrich 22.4 21.2 -3.1
Paul 36.8 25.0 7.8
President Obama
Obama 191.7 89.9 103.8
National Political Parties
Republican Nat Comm 141.4 95.3 36.8
Democratic Nat Comm 175.7 144.9 38.4
Super PACs
There are 434 Super PACs. In aggregate, they have raised $203 million and spent $91million.
Restore our Future (Romney) 52.0 42.0  
Winning our Future (Gingrich) 23.9 16.7  
Endorse Liberty (Paul) 3.7 4.0  
Red, White & Blue (Santorum) 8.3 7.5  
American Crossroads 28.1 1.0  
Freedom Works for America 3.7 1.4  
Club for Growth 5.9 1.6  
Priorities USA Action (Obama) 9.0 1.7  
American Bridge 21 Century 8.8 --  

While Super PACs will continue to raise and spend money, the real financiers of large parts of the non-Party, non-candidate campaign activity will be non-profit organizations, which do not have to reveal their donors to the public.

There is some evidence that the public will never know the identify of those who donate to groups not affiliated with the candidates or political Parties during the 2012 campaign.

To the extent that this activity involves advertising in various forms of media, there are organizations which regularly monitor this kind of activity and their findings will be disclosed periodically. For example, the April 26th edition of the Washington Post carries a story about this form of advertising/spending. One of the examples used is the Crossroads organization, which includes Crossroads GPS, a 501c(4), and American Crossroads, a Super PAC.

Crossroads GPS, the 501c(4), has spent an estimated $12.6 million on anti- Obama advertising. American Crossroads, the Super PAC, has only spent about $300,000.

Undoubtedly, there will be periodic disclosures of this media spending for the duration of the campaign.

However, should a non-profit decide to play in the campaign by hiring hundreds of grassroots organizers in targeted areas and avoiding so-called “express advocacy” language, those expenditures will never be disclosed.

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