POLITICS
04/17/2012 05:47 pm ET

HUFFPOST FUNDRACE -- Mitt Romney's $800 Million Goal

Mitt Romney and the Republican National Committee (RNC) are aiming to raise up to $800 million in their effort to defeat President Barack Obama and win back the White House. According to the New York Times, "The memo indicates that Mr. Romney’s top aides hope to collect a total of at least $500 million for the campaign and for the joint fund, known as Romney Victory, through a program for high-dollar donations. They are also hoping to bring in $300 million in smaller donations, an area where Mr. Romney has so far lagged well behind other Republicans candidates and Mr. Obama but where the Republican committee has performed relatively well. The campaign also estimates that “super PACs” and other outside groups will spend another $200 million in the race, according to the memo."

Democratic strategist Paul Begala tells the Washington Post that this is sign that Democratic donors need to wake up to the fact that Romney and the Republicans can raise as much money as Obama and the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

An essay in the American Prospect by Garrett Epps states that corporate personhood is not to blame for Citizens United. The culprit is actually, according to Epps, a tortured view of the First Amendment, "the problem didn’t start with Citizens United and can’t be fixed by a corporate-personhood amendment. The threat to American self-government runs far deeper. It started nearly 40 years ago, when the Court first became involved in campaign-finance cases. Four decades of decisions have allowed the rich and powerful to transform free speech—our most important tool of bottom-up self-government—into a means of top-down social control."

Politico runs down the Senate fundraising numbers for the first quarter of 2012 and finds that women are the big winners this cycle.

House members use their committee seats to help raise money from the interests that they oversee, according to Bloomberg.

The Washington Post profiles a PAC that operates as a conduit for contributions to pretty much any candidate you want to give to.

Roll Call's Eliza Newlin Carney gives the consultants behind the super PACs some scrutiny.

Michigan Republican Senate candidate Pete Hoekstra is burning through cash at an extraordinary rate.

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Julius Genachowski blasted television broadcasters for opposing a proposal that would put their political ad files into a public online database. Genachowski said, "some in the broadcast industry have elected to position themselves against technology, against transparency and against journalism."

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: Barack Obama for President
Candidate Opposed: Mitt Romney
Spot: "Mitt Romney: 'Start Packing'"
Market: YouTube.
Buy: None. Just a web video.

Committee: Barack Obama for President
Spot: "Keeping His Word: Equal Pay"
Market: YouTube.
Buy: None. Just a web video.

Committee: Democratic National Committee
Candidate Opposed: Mitt Romney
Spot: "Mitt Romney: 'It's been fun getting to know Ted Nugent'"
Market: YouTube.
Buy: None. Just a web video.

Committee: Democratic National Committee
Candidate Opposed: Mitt Romney
Spot: "What Else Is Mitt Romney Hiding?"
Market: YouTube.
Buy: None. Just a web video.

Committee: Dick Lugar for Senate
Candidate Opposed: Richard Mourdock
Spot: "Trust"
Market: Indiana.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: Tom Barrett for Governor
Candidate Opposed: Scott Walker
Spot: "End Scott Walker's War on Women"
Market: Wisconsin.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: Ted Cruz for Senate
Candidate Opposed: Ted Cruz
Spot: "Mojave"
Market: Texas.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: League of Conservation Voters
Candidate Opposed: Tim Holden
Spot: "Say 'No' to Tim Holden"
Market: Pennsylvania's 17th District.
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), $13,017,772 to support, $18,885,161 to oppose. (+$3,254)
Rick Santorum (R), $7,548,235 to support, $20,923,379 to oppose.
Mitt Romney (R), $3,317,306 to support, $6,927,290 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.
Jon Huntsman (R), $2,453,204 to support, $0 to oppose.
Barack Obama (D), $294,895 to support, $1,013,513 to oppose. (+$34,191)
Herman Cain (R), $501,717 to support, $954 to oppose.
Gary Johnson (R), $518 to support, $0 to oppose.

RECENT INDEPENDENT EXPENDITURES

Campaign to Defeat Barack Obama, $34,191 to oppose Barack Obama for President in California.
League of Conservation Voters, $231,280 to oppose Tim Holden for Congress in Pennsylvania's 17th District.
The Centennial Fund Committee, $1,315 to support Frank Antenori for Congress in Arizona's 8th District.
Strong America Now Super PAC, $3,254 to support Newt Gingrich for President in Texas.
Campaign for Primary Accountability, $60,000 to oppose Tim Holden for Congress in Pennsylvania's 17th District.

RECENT POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE REGISTRATIONS

Mercury Computer Systems PAC, Chelmsford, Mass., Treasurer: Kevin M. Bisson.

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

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