Obama Raises More Than Romney Dependent on Super-PAC Edge

Escalating Money Arms Race Shifts Terrain of Romney Campaign
Mitt Romney stands on stage during a Juntos Con Romney Rally at the Darwin Fuchs Pavilion in Miami. Photographer: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

President Barack Obama, buoyed by small-dollar donors and high-tech industry employees, raised more money last month than Republican challenger Mitt Romney, who was boosted by Wall Street contributors.

Obama’s campaign entered the general election race with $88.8 million in cash, compared to $50.4 million for Romney coming out of the Republican National Convention. The president raised $84.8 million in August, while Romney raised $66.6 million and borrowed an additional $20 million secured by general-election campaign donations -- most already in the bank -- to pay expenditures until he officially became his party’s nominee at the convention.

In total, Obama has raised a total of $441.3 million for his re-election to $283.6 million for Romney, who used some of his cash to pay bonuses to his top aides. The figures are based on disclosures filed yesterday with the Federal Election Commission.

When national political parties and allied super-political action committees are included, though, Romney entered September with more cash to spend on his side than Obama, $165 million to $101 million.

The Republican National Committee overcame Romney’s campaign fundraising deficit, bringing in $35.6 million last month and entering September with $76.6 million in the bank. The Democratic National Committee raised just $5.6 million and reported taking an $8 million loan, finishing the month with $7.1 million in cash.

Party Money

The disparity between the parties’ national committee accounts is largely because the Democrats -- with an undisputed nominee -- have already been investing in swing-state voter turnout initiatives.

The DNC has distributed $60.7 million this year to state parties, most of it in presidential swing states, while the RNC has transferred $15 million. In Ohio, which no Republican has ever won the White House without carrying, the DNC transferred more than $2.5 million last month to the state party. The RNC gave just over $550,000.

Obama, meanwhile, spent $66 million on ads last month, more than tripling Romney’s $18 million.

Romney Bonuses

The Romney campaign made payments totaling more than $200,000 to at least nine senior campaign staff members that supplemented their regular salaries. Political director Rich Beeson received $37,500 and campaign manager Matt Rhoades, policy director Lanhee Chen and communications director Gail Gitcho were among six aides who each received $25,000. Two others got $10,000 each. All of the payments were made Aug. 31, the end of the monthly reporting period and the day after the Republican convention ended.

A co-founder of the Boston-based private-equity firm Bain Capital LLC, Romney has relied on financial support from Wall Street. His eight biggest sources of contributions in August came from financial-services employees, according to a Bloomberg News computer-assisted analysis of FEC data.

Leading the way were employees of Goldman Sachs Group Inc., who have been Romney’s biggest source of campaign donations and contributed another $172,780 last month. Since he announced his candidacy last year, Romney has received $848,860 from Goldman employees and their families.

Bank of America

In August, Bank of America Corp. employees gave $118,900 to Romney, while employees at JPMorgan Chase & Co. contributed $116,004 and those working at Bain Capital donated $73,470.

Obama, too, went back to his base. Employees of Microsoft Corp. and Google Inc., his two biggest corporate sources of campaign contributions, were counted among his top two donors in August. Employees at Google gave $177,305 and those at Microsoft contributed $116,659, the computer analysis showed. Obama also raised $25.1 million in amounts of $200 or less.

Restore Our Future, a super-political action committee that takes unlimited donations and backs Romney, raised $7 million and spent $21 million last month -- more than during the three previous months combined.

The super-PAC, which had about $6.3 million in cash on hand at the end of August, had raised $96.7 million and spent $90.3 million for the 2012 election, based on the latest reports.

Top contributors last month, each for $1 million, included Odyssey Re Holdings Corp. in Stamford, Connecticut, and Robert Parsons, founder and executive chairman of GoDaddy.com Inc.

American Crossroads

The other major pro-Romney super-PAC, American Crossroads, founded with the help of former President George W. Bush’s chief political adviser Karl Rove, raised $9.4 million, the most in any month this year. The group has now brought in $56.8 million for the 2012 elections.

Houston homebuilder Bob Perry contributed $2 million, bringing his total to $6.5 million for the 2012 elections and to $13.5 million since September 2010.

American Crossroads spent $6.9 million last month, bringing its total to $25.5 million, and ended August with $32 million cash on hand.

Priorities USA Action, a pro-Obama super-PAC, raised $10.1 million in August, the first month it surpassed Restore Our Future. The group founded by former aides to the president has now raised $35.6 million for the 2012 election.

The super-PAC spent $9.5 million in August, its biggest-spending month to date, and $30.8 million in total. It began September with $4.8 million in the bank.

Priorities USA Action received $2 million from James H. Simons, a founder of Renaissance Technologies LLC, an investment firm in East Setauket, New York, and $1 million from Houston lawyer Steve Mostyn, who’s now given more than $2 million to the super-PAC.

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