WASHINGTON -- The presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney had his best fundraising month yet in March, raising $12.6 million, according to a report filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC). His big haul, however, still holds within it several troubling issues that the candidate has yet to address.
Chief among those issues is the former Massachusetts governor's reliance on max-out donors, those giving $2,500 or more. Yet again, the Romney campaign raised more than 50 percent of its donations from contributors chipping in between $2,500 and $5,000. Small donors, those giving under $200, accounted for only 13 percent of the March fundraising haul.
The campaign only spent $10 million in March, $8 million less than in January and $2 million less than in February. The reduced spending is due in large part to the campaign only spending $2 million on paid media, like television advertisements.
The money Romney raised continued to come from the same finance firms that have been his leading donors since he officially entered the race last year. Bank of America Merrill Lynch led the way in March with employees from the North Carolina-based bank chipping in $87,290 to the Romney campaign. Goldman Sachs employees, the biggest donors to Romney's campaign so far, threw in $21,825 to the campaign in March, bringing their total giving to $557,505.
Other big financial firms with employees giving big to Romney in March included CIT Group ($45,500), Credit Suisse ($15,650), Ernst & Young ($33,610), Fidelity ($65,488), JPMorgan Chase ($26,348), Morgan Stanley ($28,505), UBS ($25,950) and Wells Fargo ($24,965).
Companies outside of Romney's bread-and-butter in the financial world stepped up their game in March. Most notably, employees for the for-profit college corporation Bridgepoint Education chipped in $25,000. The for-profit college industry has been up-in-arms over increased regulation from the Obama administration, after investigations found that they profited from student loans and Pell Grants while both failing to help students graduate and also inflating potential job prospects when pitching to potential students.
The pharmaceutical and device manufacturer Aetna also had employees give big to the Romney camp in March with $43,520 in contributions. Though the industry has seen its profits soar in the Obama years, such companies have largely spurned the Democrats and moved their money to Republican candidates.
The recent made-for-TV controversy over stay-at-home moms could be helpful to the Romney campaign's bottom line. Donors listing their employer as "Homemaker" gave the campaign $904,705 in March. That only trailed three other selections in the employer category, with donors failing to give any information giving $1.8 million, those listing their employer as "Retired" giving $1.7 million, and those listing "Self Employed" providing $955,189.