The Washington Times - July 20, 2012, 04:56PM

President Obama handily outraised Mitt Romney in June campaign fundraising, disclosures showed Friday, and Mr. Obama spent four times as much on advertising. But Mr. Romney doubled his reliance on small donors, a massive feat that brings his percentage equal to that of Mr. Obama.

In March, only 13 percent of Mr. Romney’s donations came from small donors, a figure that never rose above 25 percent in the months since. In June, money from those giving $200 or less made up 41 percent of his total, compared to 42 percent for Mr. Obama.


Mr. Romney raised $24 million on top of $9 million that it transferred from Romney Victory, an outlet for wealthier donors to give more than $35,000 each. Mr. Obama raised $28 million, plus $18 million transferred from his analogous committee.

Mr. Obama has far more in the bank, at $98 million versus $23 million – but it has spent more rapidly, spending $58 million even though its receipts totaled $46 million in June.

Mr. Romney spent less than he raised – but even so, as the campaign shifted into high gear, it spent double what it did in May, including $10 million on ads and $1.3 million on payroll, records released Friday showed.

Among June donations from people who had given more than $200, 54 percent of the money came from first-time donors, the lowest level yet. By number of donations, forty-two percent of large contributions came from first-time donors in June, up from a low of 33 percent in March, but lower than May’s figure of 46 percent.

Those figures mean two things: Romney still has early, monied supporters who haven’t reached their contribution caps, and most of Romney’s new donors are not wealthy.

The Romney campaign’s ability to expand beyond a reliance on a small group of wealthy donors will be critical, especially as those donors hit the legal maximums. But that point does not appear to have been reached yet.

The top recipients of the money were companies controlled by Romney confidants: $12 million to American Rambler Productions, the firm of Romney senior advisers including Stuart Stevens; $7.3 million on direct mail to SCM Associates, run by Steve Meyers, another longtime Romney associate; and $832,000 to SJZ, LLC, a company run by Spencer J. Zwick, the campaign’s chief fundraiser.

The accounting method means it’s impossible to know how much went to broadcast stations versus advertising production and profit for the advisers.

The totals raised this election cycle place Mr. Romney on solid financial ground, with $12 million more than Sen. John McCain had raised by this point during his 2008 run.

In addition to his marked expansion of a network of small donors, he had help from Washington insiders as well. Twenty-three federal lobbyists have now worked at raising money for Mr. Romney’s campaign, the disclosures showed.

The Romney campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.