- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 20, 2012

President Obama’s campaign raised more than double what Republican nominee Mitt Romney did in August, with Mr. Romney’s haul from small donors its smallest in three months and the former Massachusetts governor relying on a $2,500 maxed-out donors for two-thirds of his funds, filings showed Thursday.

The Obama campaign raised $74 million, compared with $27 million for Mr. Romney. Both campaigns boosted their total hauls with transfers from a special type of committee that can collect extra-large donations of up to $75,000, but Mr. Romney relied on that technique far more heavily to try to make up the gap.

The Republican used it to boost his haul by $39 million, while Mr. Obama added $13 million with the major-donor funds, still leaving Mr. Romney behind.

Donors giving less than $200 contributed $9.4 million to Mr. Romney, compared to $11.7 million in July and $9.9 million in June. For Mr. Obama, that figure was $25 million.

All told, the filings painted a bleak picture for Mr. Romney, who is raising less money than Mr. Obama and relying on far fewer people to get what money he does have.

The results were visible on the ground. Mr. Romney’s staff did not grow much from July, rising slightly to 400 members, all of whom appeared highly paid, based on paychecks sent to them in the months of August: They received an average of $8,000 apiece, or on track for $96,000 a year.

All of its staff members were paid at Massachusetts addresses, in comparison to Mr. Obama’s, who live in nearly all of the 50 states.

The Romney campaign did not respond to questions about the salaries, but said that volunteers have knocked on millions of doors in swing states.

The Romney campaign spent $13 million on advertising, less than it spent in July, and in the last month, Mr. Obama has dramatically out-advertised Mr. Romney in every swing state, broadcasting records show.

Nationally, Mr. Obama made 1,300 ad buys to Mr. Romney’s 485, a number that reflects both the scale and geographic reach of the efforts.

Months after they provided the foundation of his fundraising operation, Mr. Romney’s campaign still relies heavily on the finance industry for much of its funding.

Mr. Romney’s top funders, by employer, were Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse at more than $100,000; and Elliot Management, HIG Capital, Morgan Stanley and Kirkland & Ellis, at more than $75,000 each; followed by Blackstone, Morgan Stanley and Bain Capital, Mr. Romney’s former firm.

For his part, Mr. Obama relied on higher education, with seven of his top 13 most common occupations of donors to his major fundraisers committee being elite universities.

The top donors, measured by number of donations, were Duke University with 54 contributions, followed by 46 from the University of Michigan, 43 from the University of California, 40 from the University of Washington and 37 from Stanford University. Mr. Obama’s alma maters of Columbia and Harvard listed 37 and 34 donors, respectively.

The only non-university employers ranking so highly are tech companies. The Obama Victory Committee got donations from 54 Google employees, 48 Microsoft workers, 43 workers from IBM, and 40 from Oracle.

The fund, which can accept up to $75,000 per person, also raised $3.4 million from 5,600 retirees and $5.1 million from 4,600 self-employed individuals.

Professors came out in force to oppose George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004, and also donated heavily in 2008, giving more than those who work in the oil and gas or pharmaceutical industries — both of which are regularly vilified for their political influence. But professors have given only half as much as those groups this year, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Overall the Obama “joint fundraising committee” raised $40 million in August and transferred $14 million to the presidential campaign. It spent $12 million on online advertising.

The Republican National Committee raised $36 million last month, $18 million of which Mr. Romney helped raise from major donors. Democratic National Committee figures were not yet available late Thursday.

The super PAC run by former Romney staffers, Restore Our Future, reported that it had raised $7 million last month and spent $21 million, leaving it less than $7 million in the bank, and meaning it will need to attract more large donations if it intends to unleash a barrage of last-minute ads. Its largest donation came in the form of a $1 million check from Robert Parsons, the chairman of Web domain registrar Go Daddy.

The super PAC totals for August mark a reversal of the major presidential independent groups, with the long-beleaguered Obama super PAC, Priorities USA, actually posting better numbers for the month. Priorities USA, raised $10.1 million in August and spent slightly less. Priorities USA had $5 million in the bank as of Sept. 1, slightly less than Restore Our Future.

The Democratic group made a nearly $3 million television ad buy Thursday to go after Mr. Romney. Restore Our Future has been quiet of late, and Thursday’s federal filings suggest the reason why.

Among Priorities USA top donors, a carpenters’ union gave $500,000, and a public employees union chipped in $250,000.

James H. Simons, chairman of Renaissance Technologies in New York, was the PAC’s largest donor at $2 million.

• Luke Rosiak can be reached at lrosiak@washingtontimes.com.

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