Romney Fundraising Falling Short?
Despite four months of hundred million dollar fundraising, Mitt Romney’s campaign has less cash on hand than the President’s:
After a summer in which he routinely posted larger fundraising hauls than President Obama, Mitt Romney was supposed to march into the home-stretch of the campaign accompanied by a war chest so massive it would induce insomnia at Obama headquarters in Chicago. But the GOP presidential nominee’s deflating fundraising numbers this week suggest that Team Obama might get some sleep this fall after all.
Romney’s campaign, in a report filed to the Federal Election Commission this week, showed $50.4 million cash on hand — nearly $40 million less than Obama’s reported $88 million. Romney’s joint fundraising operation with the Republican National Committee and other party committees still has a bigger bank account overall. But that advantage -$180 million on hand compared to President Obama’s $120 million, according to The New York Times - is hardly as large as Republicans hoped it would be when the former governor reported hundreds of millions raised this summer.
So what happened? Campaign finance experts say Romney, and Obama for that matter, have masked their true financial figures by reporting money raised by allied groups like the RNC in addition to the principal campaign account. They have presented all of the money as being part of one big pot, but that conflation belies the fact that how a campaign raises cash determines how it can spend it.
According to numbers compiled by the Campaign Finance Institute and shared by Malbin, through Aug. 31 Obama had raised $147 million from donors whose aggregate contributions totaled less than $200 (more than the $121 million he had raised from small donors at the same time four years ago). Romney had raised $39.5 million from donors giving less than $200 by the end of last month, according to the institute (about $3 million less than McCain’s total in 2008).
The larger donors also present another problem for Romney: Contributors offering $5,000 checks might have boosted his summer fundraising totals, but because they’ve reached their maximum contribution, he can’t return to them for more money. Obama, meanwhile, can continually ask his small-donor pool for more cash.
“There’s a practical problem there” for Romney, said Neil Reiff, a Democratic campaign finance lawyer. “The momentum is going to die because it’s a pyramid scheme to some extent. You’re claiming all this credit but you can’t go back to same well.”
What impact this will have on the last 6 weeks of the campaign remains to be seen.