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

First Posted: 07/15/11 09:16 AM ET Updated: 09/14/11 06:12 AM ET

Campaign Finance Blog

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.

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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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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Christie Vilsack, the wife of former Iowa governor and current Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, raised $424,339 in her bid for the redrawn 4th congressional district in Iowa, according to a report filed with the Federal Election Commission on Friday. She is likely to face incumbent Republican Rep. Steve King in the election.

The majority of Vilsack's money came from out of state: She raised $154,775 from Iowans and $197,135 from residents of other states, according to a HuffPost analysis. The biggest contributing states after Iowa were Illinois, California, the District of Columbia and New York.

King has not yet reported his second quarter fundraising numbers, however, his first quarter numbers were fairly weak. He reported raising $41,359 from January through March and ended the period with just $142,610 cash on hand.

But those numbers don't reflect King's endorsement from the conservative Club for Growth, which came in May. The Club for Growth can direct hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of dollars in donations to a candidate receiving its endorsement. The group also runs independent expenditures for candidates it supports, providing King with a potential boost against what looks to be a very well-financed opponent in Vilsack.

-- Paul Blumenthal

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The Boehner for Speaker FOJB-TFP Committee raised over $1 million in the second quarter of 2011, according to a report filed with the Federal Election Commission on Friday, with much of that money coming from individuals working for financial firms in New York.

The report shows the majority of the money raised by the joint fundraising committee came from residents of New York, with donations totaling $615,700 from individuals in the state. The other top donating states were Connecticut ($107,500) and New Jersey ($103,250), both adjacent to the financial hub of New York City.

Employees of two financial firms, Elliot Management and Paulson & Co., made up nearly one quarter of the contributions to the committee. Elliot employees donated $131,000 and Paulson employees gave $124,050, according to a HuffPost analysis. Elliott Management was founded by Paul Singer, a major Republican donor who has also led efforts in New York City to pass a same-sex marriage law. Paulson & Co. was founded by John Paulson, a prominent hedge fund manager.

The Boehner for Speaker FOJB-TFP Committee is a joint fundraising vehicle delivering contributions to the Ohio Republican's campaign committee, his leadership PAC and the National Republican Congressional Committee. This type of joint fundraising committee allows donors to give a maximum of $35,800 to be divided among the three committees.

Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly identified the founder of Paulson & Co. It was founded by John Paulson and not former U.S. Treasury Secretary and Goldman Sachs CEO and Henry Paulson.

-- Paul Blumenthal

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Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum reported raising only $582,347 in his long shot bid for the Republican nomination for the presidency, according to a report filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) on Friday. The campaign reported spending $353,232 and ended the quarter with $229,114 cash on hand.

These numbers are closer to the amounts Santorum raised for his Senate bids than to the amounts raised by serious presidential candidates.

According to a HuffPost analysis, Santorum spent $111,158 on a variety of consultants and consulting services. Another major focus of his spending was on fundraising with $71,901 in expenses. He also spent $24,519 on travel and $21,357 on direct mail.

Pennsylvania was the biggest contributing state with residents donating $161,410 to Santorum's bid.

-- Paul Blumenthal

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According to a report filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) on Friday, Kenosha, Wis., Democratic county supervisor Rob Zerban, who is running for the seat occupied by Republican Rep. Paul Ryan, raised $101,310 after getting into the race in April. Zerban officially announced his challenge to Ryan on June 5.

Ryan has drawn major attention from Democrats after unveiling the House Republican budget, which sought to roll back Medicare, dramatically cut both spending and taxes and repeal the health care law passed in the previous Congress.

The state of Wisconsin has also drawn the nation's attention as it has been ground zero for the ideological battles between Democrats and Republicans over collective bargaining rights, government spending and the influence of major donors like the Koch Brothers. Large protests and efforts to recall state senators began after Gov. Scott Walker (R) pushed through a bill to curtail collective bargaining rights for public employee unions.

To defeat Ryan, Zerban may need to up his fundraising in the third quarter. Ryan, a formidable fundraiser, raised $893,630 in the second quarter of 2011 and has over $3.8 million cash on hand.

-- Paul Blumenthal

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CBS News is reporting that Michele Bachmann raised $2 million for her presidential campaign in the last three weeks of June alone, and added another $2 million from her congressional campaign account.

The Bachmann campaign told The Huffington Post that nothing has been finalized and they are still compiling their numbers. Don't expect anything until 3 p.m. or so, said Bachmann spokeswoman Alice Stewart.

-- Jon Ward

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Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) raised $280,676 in the second quarter of 2011, according to a report filed Thursday with the Federal Election Commission.

Giffords was shot in the head on Jan. 8 during a daytime assassination attempt by alleged gunman Jared Loughner. This fundraising quarter shows a continuation of the strong numbers that Giffords has posted throughout her career, both before and after the attack.

Despite hopes that Giffords could run for the open Arizona Senate seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), it is still unclear whether Giffords will be able to return to politics at all.

Dr. Gerard Francisco, a doctor overseeing Giffords' recovery, said in an interview with Politico, "I think in about a year or so, we will have a better idea of what her functional abilities are going to be eventually."

The contributions this quarter were split down the middle between individual giving and a mix of political action committee (PAC) and congressional campaign committee donations. Giffords' colleagues contributed $44,500 to her campaign during the quarter.

If she does return, Giffords will have a significant amount of money to use for her reelection: Her campaign currently has $787,448 cash on hand.

-- Paul Blumenthal

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The New York Times reports GOP presidential hopeful Tim Pawlenty has spent more than half of the money he raised in the second quarter.

The Pawlenty campaign released its numbers early to the Times. While it revised its second quarter fundraising total to reflect an increase from $4.2 million to $4.5 million, the campaign also said it spent $2.45 million during the period from April to June.

Pawlenty must set aside $600,000 of that $4.5 million that can only be used in the general election, if he were to win the nomination. So that leaves the former Minnesota governor with $1.4 million in cash on hand at the beginning of July.

This is a crucial stretch for Pawlenty's campaign as he seeks to organize support in Iowa for the Ames straw poll on Aug. 13. According to Politico, he has already spent $400,000 on TV ads in Iowa.

-- Jon Ward

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HuffPost's Paul Blumenthal reports:

The political action committee of former Alaska Governor and Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin raised $1.6 million over the first six months of 2011, according to a report filed Thursday with the Federal Election Commission (FEC), showing a continuation of the strong fundraising her operation demonstrated in 2010.

SarahPAC entered the year with over $1.3 million cash on hand and finished the first half of the year with about the same amount after spending $1.59 million over the same period. Much of that money went to pay for consultants: $322,418. Raising money and building lists through direct mail totaled $310,976. The other top costs for the campaign included $260,534 for postage -- which likely included much of the direct mail pieces sent to Palin supporters -- and $172,217 to cover travel expenses.

Click here to read more.

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