Is Obama really losing the money battle? A fundraising Q&A.
President Obama is claiming that Mitt Romney and his allies could outspend him, but the truth (not surprisingly) is a little more complicated. Here is what's known about the money race.
(Page 2 of 3)
Romney is picking up the pace, however. In May, Romney and the RNC pulled in almost as much as Obama and the DNC, according to the Campaign Finance Institute, and June could be even better for Romney. (The Romney campaign has hinted it will report a June haul of $100 million, which would be a historic – and for Democrats, pretty demoralizing – amount.)Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
Question: How much of an advantage are super PACs providing for Romney? And what exactly are they, again?
Answer: Super PACs – outside groups that are technically forbidden from coordinating with the campaigns, but can raise and spend unlimited sums – are already helping to level the playing field for Romney.
Looking at just the two biggest super PACs most closely associated with the candidates, it’s clear what has the president and other Democrats so worried.
Restore Our Future, the super PAC backing Romney, raised $61 million through the end of May, two-thirds of which came from 50 extremely wealthy donors, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. But it seems likely to raise far more in months to come. Its top donor, Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who recently gave the group $10 million, has said he may ultimately invest as much as $100 million.
By contrast, the primary Democratic super PAC supporting Obama, Priorities USA Action, raised just over $14 million. Some of that money came from wealthy individuals – the largest single donor was Jeffrey Katzenberg of DreamWorks, who donated $2 million. But a lot also came from labor organizations, many of which have their own political arms.
Here’s where it gets murky: While super PACs are required to disclose their donors, “issue advocacy” groups – such as Crossroads GPS, an offshoot of American Crossroads – are not, making it hard to track all the money being raised that may ultimately have a big affect on the outcome of the campaign.
And all this may just be the tip of the iceberg. Restore Our Future has a reported goal of spending $100 million, while American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS have been reported as aiming to spend a combined $300 million. Priorities USA Action also has said it hopes to spend $100 million.
Estimates of just how much labor will ultimately spend on behalf of the president range from $200 to $400 million. (Of course, a whole range of other outside advocacy groups – from the Republican-leaning Chamber of Commerce to the Democratic-leaning National Abortion Rights League – will play a big role, as well.)