Bloomberg News

Romney Reaps Donations From Backers of Primary Opponents

June 21, 2012

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, since becoming his party’s presumptive nominee, is now taking in cash from donors who had backed his onetime rivals, campaign finance reports show.

The $23.4 million Romney raised last month included $634,495 from 225 contributors who earlier gave the maximum $2,500 to the presidential campaigns of former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum, or Texas Governor Rick Perry, according to a computer-assisted analysis of Federal Election Commission data. Romney faces President Barack Obama in November.

In addition, casino executive Sheldon Adelson and his family, who had contributed $21.5 million to a political action committee supporting Gingrich, gave $10 million in June to a pro-Romney super-PAC, Restore Our Future. Texas businessman Robert Brockman, who earlier had given $50,000 to a pro-Perry super-PAC through one of his companies, gave $1 million through three other companies to the super-PAC supporting Romney, a former Massachusetts governor.

“Republicans across the board are excited about Governor Romney’s candidacy,” said Andrea Saul, a Romney campaign spokeswoman. “Voters understand that this is an important election.”

Private Financing

Several donors gave $5,000 to Romney, who became the first Republican since Richard Nixon in 1972 to raise private money for the general election. Following the Watergate break-in scandal that led to Nixon’s resignation in 1974, Congress offered public financing to candidates who agreed to forgo raising private money, and every major-party nominee except Obama in 2008 took the federal funds. This year both campaigns will be funded entirely with private money.

Romney entered June with $17 million in the bank, one-sixth of the $109.7 million amassed by Obama. That gap was narrowed as the Republican National Committee reported $60.8 million cash on hand, more than double the Democratic National Committee’s $29.7 million.

In May, the first full month since Romney was assured of winning the nomination, he received $7.1 million and the RNC $25.9 million from a joint fundraising committee. Obama brought in $8.7 million and the DNC $13.3 million from a similar fundraising apparatus, which allows donors give larger contributions at one time.

Candidates’ Totals

Obama has now raised $261.4 million for his re-election and Romney $123.6 million. Four years ago at this time, Obama had raised $296.6 million and had $43.1 million in the bank.

The Democratic National Committee outraised its Republican counterpart, $189.2 million to $169.4 million. The Republican committee whittled down the $23 million debt that chairman Reince Priebus inherited to $9.9 million.

Obama’s comments on May 9 that gay couples should be able to marry may have boosted his fundraising, the FEC reports suggest. He took in more than six times as much money on the day of his announcement as he did the day before, $1.8 million compared with $282,404.

“It is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married,” Obama said in an ABC News interview. That day, his campaign started an e-mail fundraising blitz tied to gay marriage. The money bump continued the next day, with the campaign raking in another $1.6 million.

Clooney Fundraiser

On May 10, Obama dined at actor George Clooney’s Los Angeles house -- an event that campaign officials said raised a total of $15 million for the president, the DNC and state parties.

Among those giving to the joint fundraising committee were fashion designer Vera Wang; Dow Chemical Co. (DOW:US) Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Andrew Liveris; actors Kirk Douglas, Billy Crystal and Eddie Murphy; actresses Reese Witherspoon and Meryl Streep; and Edsel B. Ford II, a director and consultant to the Ford Motor Co. (F:US), which his great-grandfather founded.

Obama’s largest company source of donations came from Google Inc. (GOOG:US) employees, who gave him $67,933, according to a computer-assisted analysis of FEC campaign data. Romney received $72,968 from employees of Credit Suisse Group AG. (CSGN)

In the month when JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM:US) revealed a $2 billion trading loss, employees of the largest U.S. bank by assets gave Romney $45,214 and Obama $21,220.

Obama took in $39.1 million in May and spent $44.6 million, while Romney spent $15.6 million.

Money Race

The proliferation of super-PACs and nonprofit groups that support Romney has Obama campaign officials concerned that the president will lose the money race in his re-election bid.

“The other side is going to outspend us with the help of undisclosed, special interest allies and funders that are cutting $10 million checks while our average donation in May was $55,” said Katie Hogan, an Obama campaign spokeswoman. “The more people we can get involved and the more supporters who take ownership of this campaign, the stronger we will be on Election Day.”

Obama’s political advisers told reporters they expect Romney to wind up with a money advantage as the outside groups supporting the co-founder of the Boston-based private-equity firm Bain Capital LLC spend as much as $1 billion. The advisers, who asked for anonymity to discuss tactics, said they are braced for a close election and counting on their political organization to turn out voters in critical states.

Pro-Obama Group

Priorities USA Action, a super-PAC backing Obama, raised $4 million in May, including $1 million each from Houston lawyer Steve Mostyn, Washington developer Franklin Haney and Florida retiree Barbara Stiefel. The PAC began June with $4.5 million in the bank and said it has raised another $4 million this month.

Offering Romney an advantage, American Crossroads, a Republican super-PAC founded with the help of political strategist Karl Rove, entered June with $29.4 million in the bank after raising $4.6 million last month.

Joseph Craft, the chairman and chief executive officer of Tulsa, Oklahoma-based Alliance Holdings GP LP (AHGP:US), donated $1.25 million, and Dallas, Texas-based Crow Holdings LLC gave $1 million. Another co-founder of the PAC, former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie, is now an adviser to the Romney campaign.

The pro-Romney super-PAC Restore Our Future reported to the FEC that it raised almost $5 million in May and had $8.4 million cash on hand as of the end of the month.

Ron Paul

Representative Ron Paul of Texas raised $1.8 million in May, more than half of it in contributions of $200 or less, bringing his total to $40.8 million. He had $3.3 million in the bank.

Paul announced May 14 that he would no longer spend money to compete in the Republican presidential primaries. He reported $969,622 in expenditures for the month.

Gingrich, who suspended his campaign on May 3, and Santorum, who stepped aside on April 10, made little progress in retiring their Republican presidential campaign debts. Gingrich raised $495,233 last month and still owed $4.7 million. Santorum took in $454,328 and reported debts of $1.9 million.

Winning Our Future, the super-PAC that had supported Gingrich’s candidacy, refunded $5 million to Adelson’s wife, Miriam. Sheldon Adelson is chairman and chief executive officer of casino operator Las Vegas Sands Corp. (LVS:US)

To contact the reporters on this story: Jonathan D. Salant in Washington at jsalant@bloomberg.net; Greg Giroux in Washington at ggiroux@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jeanne Cummings at jcummings21@bloomberg.net.


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