POLITICS
03/21/2012 06:04 pm ET Updated Mar 21, 2012

HUFFPOST FUNDRACE -- An Etch-A-Sketch's Fundraising Numbers

Mitt Romney reported his February fundraising late last night and HuffPost ran the numbers on a variety of things that we found. The campaign raised $11.5 million, spent $12.3 million, and ended the month with $7.2 million cash on hand. Here's a few observations we had:

The Romney campaign is still heavily reliant on big donations of $2,500 or more. In February the campaign raised 57 percent of its contributions from these big donors and under 10 percent from small donors giving less than $200.

Top donating companies in February included the collection of big banks and investment houses that have been stocking his campaign war chest all along. Employees from the combo of Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo gave $81,070 in February. The top single company with employees giving to the Romney campaign was the insurance company Aetna with $43,000. Liberty Mutual, another insurance company, had employees send in $38,750.

The campaign spent $6.4 million less in February than it did in January. That reduction in spending was driven almost entirely by a drop in advertising from $8.4 million in January to $2.6 million in February. This helps explains how Rick Santorum was able to surprise everyone by winning Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri. HuffPost's Sam Stein writes that Restore Our Future, Romney's trusted super PAC, did not fill the advertising void left by the campaign in February.

In other news, the super PAC supporting Rick Santorum raised $2.9 million in February and ended the month with only a little more than $300,000 cash on hand. The group has since seen an influx of cash as it spent $2.47 million on primary states that voted in March.

Peter Overby of NPR has an extended profile of casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson, who has ascended to the throne of super PAC-dom after all contributions from the month of February were counted.

Politico reports that Barack Obama's fundraising advantage is not as big as it seems.

Democratic senators have introduced a new version of the DISCLOSE Act to close disclosure loopholes opened up after the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision.

The League of Conservation Voters is pumping money into the Ohio Senate race to boost Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown with a big ad buy.

Crossroads GPS, the Karl Rove-linked conservative nonprofit, has launched a three-state, $650,000 ad buy hitting Obama on high gas prices.

A new super PAC supporting Obama has been formed and intends to spend $10 million to help his reelection.

Restore Our Future, the Romney super PAC, returned a contribution from a 501(c)(3) organization, which are prohibited from donating to political efforts.

There are now 100 corporations that have adopted disclosure and oversight policies for their political spending, according to the Center for Political Accountability.

Top campaign lawyers chat Citizens United, super PACs, and what's really going on in campaign finance.

Republican Senate candidate Ted Cruz launches his first television ad in a contested primary race in Texas. Cruz has been endorsed by the Club for Growth, FreedomWorks, and Sen. Jim DeMint.

AD WATCH

Help us populate our list of campaign videos. Send any notable TV, radio or web ads that you see to Fundrace. Send your submissions to paulblumenthal@huffingtonpost.com.

Committee: Crossroads GPS
Candidate Opposed: Barack Obama
Spot: "Gas Prices"
Market: Albuquerque, NM; Columbus, OH; Las Vegas, NV.
Buy: $650,000.

Committee: League of Conservation Voters
Candidate Supported: Sherrod Brown
Spot: "Sherrod Brown: Voting to Build Ohio's Clean Energy Industry"
Market: Ohio.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: Democratic National Committee
Candidate Opposed: Mitt Romney
Spot: "Mitt Romney: Some Things You Can't Shake Off"
Market: YouTube.
Buy: None. Just a web video.

Committee: American Bridge 21st Century
Candidate Opposed: Mitt Romney
Spot: "Romney: The Etch-A-Sketch Candidate"
Market: YouTube.
Buy: None. Just a web video.

Committee: Jeff Flake for Senate
Spot: "Worst. Birthday. Ever."
Market: Arizona.
Buy: Undisclosed.

TRACKING INDEPENDENT SPENDING IN THE PRESIDENTIAL RACE:

These numbers represent spending by independent groups, like super PACs and non-profits, to support or oppose a particular candidate for the presidency in 2012. Fundrace will update this spending daily to help show which candidates are gaining from the proliferation of independent groups in this coming election.

Newt Gingrich (R), $12,760,055 to support, $18,881,563 to oppose.
Rick Santorum (R), $7,386,883 to support, $16,826,388 to oppose. (+$139,185)
Mitt Romney (R), $2,525,334 to support, $6,460,682 to oppose.
Rick Perry (R), $4,167,697 to support, $1,404 to oppose.
Ron Paul (R), $3,748,218 to support, $214,158 to oppose. (+$12,452)
Jon Huntsman (R), $2,453,204 to support, $0 to oppose.
Barack Obama (D), $280,441 to support, $928,780 to oppose.
Herman Cain (R), $501,717 to support, $954 to oppose.
Gary Johnson (R), $518 to support, $0 to oppose.

RECENT INDEPENDENT EXPENDITURES

Red White And Blue Fund, $128,400 to support Rick Santorum for President in Louisiana.
Red White And Blue Fund, $10,785 to support Rick Santorum for President in Louisiana.
Endorse Liberty, $12,452 to support Ron Paul for President in Pennsylvania.
Suburban Voters for Choice, $5,800 to support Raja Krishnamoorthi for Congress in Illinois' 8th District.

RECENT POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE REGISTRATIONS

Getting Us Involved Now Transitioning America PAC, Bethesda, Md., Treasurer: Michael Dennehy. (Leadership PAC: Rep. Frank Guinta)
Youth for a Better Tomorrow, Comstock Park, Mich., Treasurer: Blake Edmonds.
Free Market Federal, Lebanon, Ill., Treasurer: Joseph Benken.
Constitutional Concepts PAC, Park City, Utah, Treasurer: James C. Barrus.

Send tips, hints, submissions, rumors to HuffPost Fundrace at paulblumenthal@huffingtonpost.com.

ALL-ALSO-ON-HUFFPOST

Subscribe to the Politics email.
How will Trump’s administration impact you?

CONVERSATIONS