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Obama super PAC spends while Romney one lies in wait

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The Romney super PAC raised $20 million from 148 people last month – half of which came from former Newt Gingrich supporter Sheldon Adelson, $2 million from profligate giver and homebuilder Bob Perry, and $1 million from a corporation connected to the Koch brothers, according to disclosures filed Friday.

Large donors also include Sam Zell, an investor and onetime owner of the Chicago Tribune.

On the pro-Obama side, with $1 million from actor Morgan Freeman; $2 million from Irwin M. Jacobs, a founder of Qualcomm; and another million from Fred Eychaner of Newsweb Corp., who has become one of the party’s biggest donors, Priorities USA raised $6 million and spent nearly $8 million in June. Despite opposition to the court rulings that created super PACs in 010, Mr. Obama blessed the group and dispatched top figures, including Cabinet positions, to its fundraising events.

Other donors include George Krupp, CEO of the Berkshire Group and Jon Stryker, a pro-Democratic and pro-gay rights donor and architect.

Despite the fundraising totals, Priorities USA has gone decidedly on the offense versus Restore Our Future, a dramatic turn from the early months of the election, when Priorities issued barely a peep and limped along with laughably weak fundraising while the Romney unlimited-money group viciously hammered his opponents out of the race.

Since April, Priorities has outspent Restore Our Future on advertising $14 million to $9 million.

For moderately wealthy Romney supporters, higher maximum-donation caps since Mr. Romney joined forces with the Republican National Committee have dampened the allure of the super PAC, which can accept unlimited funds. They may now give more than $35,000 each to the Romney effort; prior to the solidification of his status as eventual party nominee, donors were limited to a mere $2,500.

Still, with the upper hand monetarily – Restore Our Future has $22 million in the bank, while Priorities has less than $3 million – it appears to have opted for a lie-in-wait strategy, and stands to emerge at any time – likely in the month or two prior to the election – with a full-force onslaught.

Beyond a vehicle for advertising, though, Priorities has made itself a research operation, spending a quarter-million dollars in June digging up ammunition for use against Mr. Romney, records show.

Meanwhile, other more broadly Republican super PACs are doing well. American Crossroads, the super PAC connected to former George W. Bush adviser Karl Rove, is setting itself up as an alternative to the Republican National Committee for wealthy donors, stockpiling $33 million despite raising less than Priorities in June. (Crossroads also has an affiliated group organized as a nonprofit, which does not disclose donations.)

On Friday, American Crossroads made an $8 million television buy for spots attacking Mr. Obama, one of the largest by any group or campaign yet.

Some donors have spread their wealth across several of the groups. In addition to giving $1 million to the Romney super PAC, John Childs, a Florida buyout specialist, gave $1 million to Club for Growth, a super
PAC that pushes the Republican party to the right

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