Elections 2012: Revelations From Second Quarter FEC Campaign Finance Filings (LIVE UPDATES)

07/15/2011 08:16 am ET | Updated Sep 14, 2011

WASHINGTON -- Candidates for president, Congress and other political positions were required to submit their second quarter campaign finance filings to the Federal Election Commission on Friday. Halfway through the first year of the 2012 election cycle, the numbers in these reports can show the strength of candidates in particular elections, where they draw their support, and also which candidates are struggling to capture or retain a seat.

Much of the attention in these reports will focus on the presidential race, which, so far, boasts 11 Republican candidates seeking their party's nomination and one of the biggest fundraising operations in American political history working to reelect President Barack Obama.

The results of the 2010 Census add a different pressure to congressional campaigns, and campaign finance numbers will provide hints at which candidates are doing their best to stay in Congress and which contestants can afford to unseat an incumbent. Congressional districts are due to be redrawn based on Census figures, and in many cases redistricting could cost incumbents their seats. Freshmen Republicans in swing seats will need to prove that they can raise money to protect the GOP House majority.

These reports will also reveal the consultants, pollsters and companies that the candidates are paying to run their campaigns.

Joining the candidates this year are a host of new political action committees that can accept unlimited campaign contributions from individuals, corporations and unions. These committees, known as Super PACs, are expected to play a major role in the 2012 elections. The Karl Rove-affiliated group American Crossroads has already pledged to spend $120 million this election cycle, and a number of Democrat-aligned groups have emerged to counter that spending with money of their own.

We need your help to comb through the huge number of reports coming into the FEC.

Keep a particular eye out for contributions and expenditures in high-profile races. Then email paulblumenthal@huffingtonpost.com with anything you think might be newsworthy.

We'll be adding your findings, along with those of our reporters, to the liveblog below.

If you'd like to participate in more projects like this one as the 2012 election season continues, sign up here.

07/16/2011 1:33 PM EDT

A Giuliani Campaign Would Start $1.5 Million In The Hole

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani talks like he wants to run for president again, four years after he spent $50 million to win just one delegate to the Republican National Convention. Giuliani even went to New Hampshire, an early primary state, to test the waters.

Any new campaign, however, would start with $1.5 million in debts from his last campaign.

According to a report filed on Friday, Giuliani's previous presidential campaigns amassed $1.5 million in debts, including big expenses on telephone services ($342,736), private jet travel ($210,307), and security ($141,613).

-- Paul Blumenthal

07/16/2011 1:25 PM EDT

Totals For The Day

Here are the full totals from yesterday's quarterly filings, the first major filing of the 2012 elections. The only major candidate who has not yet reported is former Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman.

Barack Obama

Raised: $46,323,209

Spent: $11,095,657

Cash on Hand: $37,110,346

Debts: $412,878

Mitt Romney

Raised: $18,383,256

Spent: $5,668,384

Cash on Hand: $12,715,495

Debts: $0

Ron Paul

Receipts: $4,518,436

Spent: $1,552,770

Cash on Hand: $2,966,177

Debts: $0

Tim Pawlenty

Raised: $4,335,694

Spent: $2,451,251

Cash on Hand: $2,001,090

Debts: $1,915

Michele Bachmann

Receipts: $3,639,723

Spent: $260,656

Cash on Hand: $3,379,066

Debts: $364,119

Herman Cain

Receipts: $2,580,725

Spent: $2,098,830

Cash on Hand: $481,894

Debts: $500,000

Newt Gingrich

Receipts: $2,102,916

Spent: $1,780,693

Cash on Hand: $322,222

Debts: $1,030,627

Rick Santorum

Receipts: $582,347

Spent: $353,232

Cash on Hand: $229,114

Debts: $0

-- Paul Blumenthal

07/15/2011 7:45 PM EDT

Easy-To-Use Guide To Obama Bundlers And Their Prior Donations

The Sunlight Foundation quickly put up a list of Obama bundlers with links to their previous donations by matching the names with ID codes in their databases:

Earlier today the Obama campaign released a list of 244 fundraisers who have bundled thousands of dollars in donations to the president's victory fund. This is an excellent opportunity to use the Sunlight Foundation's Influence Explorer and Transparency Data tools to dig into the connections and past contributions of these masterful rainmakers.

This is a useful tool for anyone who wants to know more about these big dollar donors.

-- Paul Blumenthal

07/15/2011 7:36 PM EDT

Christine O'Donnell Super PAC Gets Backing From ... Christine O'Donnell

The Super PAC created by former Delaware Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell raised $119,914 in its first reported quarter, according to a report filed on Friday. The biggest donor to the Super PAC was Christine O'Donnell's 2010 campaign committee, with a $50,000 donation.

The PAC spent over $80,000, none of it on electoral efforts.

-- Paul Blumenthal

07/15/2011 5:21 PM EDT

Lobbyists Bundle $500K For Romney

Politico reports:

Mitt Romney took in over half a million dollars from lobbyists in the second quarter. Of his over $18 million haul, $517,450 came bundled from lobbyists, according to July 15 filings.

The money was bundled through six lobbyists with five firms: the Fiorentino Group, Dutko Worldwide, Ogilvy Government Relations, the Rath Group and Barclays.

Bundling over $100,000 was Wayne Berman, a top Bush financier and later a top moneyman for Sen. John McCain in 2008.

The lobbyists and the amounts that they bundled are listed below:

Patrick Durkin, Barclays: $167,800
Martin Fiorentino, The Fiorentino Group: $102,900
Wayne Berman, Ogilvy Government Relations: $101,600
Drew Maloney, Ogilby Government Relations: $54,200
Judi Rhines, The Rath Group: $34,200

-- Paul Blumenthal

07/15/2011 5:19 PM EDT

Gingrich Owes Over $400K On Private Jet Flights

The troubled presidential bid of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich owes more than $1 million in debts, including more than $450,000 to the private jet carrier Moby Dick Airways, according to a report filed to the FEC on Friday.

Gingrich's campaign also owes large amounts to the web firm High Tech Win ($212,059) and the law firm McKenna Long & Aldridge ($101,143).

The campaign reported raising over $2 million from April through June and spent $1.78 million, in addition to the more than $1 million in debts piled up.

-- Paul Blumenthal

07/15/2011 4:20 PM EDT

Obama Victory Fund Reports $39 Million Raised; Majority of Money Comes From Big Dollar Donors

The Obama Victory Fund, a joint fundraising committee splitting donations between President Barack Obama's reelection campaign and the Democratic National Committee, raised $39 million from April to June of 2011, according to a report filed Friday.

The majority of that money came from 619 big dollar donors who maxed-out their contributions at $35,800, for a total of $22,124,400. Campaign committees can normally only accept donations of $2,500 from an individual for each election (primary and general).

On Wednesday, the campaign touted the small donor strength of their campaign in an email flash to supporters. Campaign chief Jim Messina stated that the campaign and the DNC had a total of 552,462 individual donors with an average donation of $69. This assertion was questioned by numerous writers, including Micah Sifry and Tim Carney.

The Obama Victory Fund forwarded $20.5 million to the DNC and another $12,750,000 to the Obama campaign.

The fund received 7,487 contributions donations over $10,000, totaling more than $34 million, or nearly 90 percent of total raised by the joint fundraising committee.

-- Paul Blumenthal

07/15/2011 3:26 PM EDT

Obama Releases Bundler List

The campaign of President Barack Obama released a list of his big money bundlers on its website on Friday. The list showed that 29 individuals have already raised over $500,000 each for the President's reelection campaign.

The biggest bundling donors included former New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine, DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, Vogue Editor Anna Wintour, investment banker Blair Effron, and salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff, among others.

In total, the campaign reports 249 bundlers. They break down into four categories: 29 raising over $500,000, 41 raising between $250,000 and $500,000, 89 raising between $100,000 and $250,000, and 87 raising between $50,000 and $100,000.

Since individuals face contribution limits when giving to candidates, they can use their rolodexes to increase their clout in a campaign by "bundling" contributions. These donors are often given special perks from the campaign, including regular campaign updates and invites to strategy sessions.

Many 2008 campaign bundlers went on to become ambassadors or receive appointments from President Obama. According to a report from iWatch News, Obama appointed nearly 200 of his biggest donors to government jobs and other plum positions.

-- Paul Blumenthal

07/15/2011 2:43 PM EDT

Gingrich Campaign More Than $1 Million In Debt

The AP reports:

Newt Gingrich's presidential campaign is more than $1 million in debt, according to his campaign disclosure provided to The Associated Press on Friday.

The former House speaker's campaign raised $2.1 million since he got into the race earlier this year. But he spent $1.8 million, and listed $1.03 million in debt, including more than $100,000 in legal fees.

Gingrich listed $322,222 cash on hand.

Read more here.

07/15/2011 1:53 PM EDT

Hillary Clinton Still Owes Mark Penn Money

The main reason for those fundraising appeals from the Hillary Clinton for President campaign three years after the former First Lady and New York senator lost the Democratic nomination to Barack Obama? To pay back millionaire political consultant Mark Penn.

According to a campaign finance report filed Friday, Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign still owes Penn, her chief 2008 campaign strategist, $289,010. The campaign had paid off $40,000 of that debt since the previous filing.

Clinton's campaign -- which ended more than three years ago -- raised $172,944 in the period from April to June and spent $118,784.

-- Paul Blumenthal

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