06/07/2012 06:04 pm ET

HUFFPOST FUNDRACE -- Mitt Romney Beats Barack Obama...In Fundraising

For the first time since the final three months of 2007 Barack Obama was outraised by a political opponent. Back then it was Hillary Clinton. Today, it's Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who, according to his campaign, raised $76.7 million with the Republican National Committee. HuffPost's Sam Stein reports, "In the wake of the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, which dramatically altered campaign fundraising, the saving grace for national Democrats has been President Barack Obama's robust grassroots fundraising base. The theory went something like this: While conservative super PACs would have their corporate and billionaire donors, the Obama campaign would be fed by a steady stream of support from a 13 million-member email list. On Thursday, that theory took a sizeable hit. Mitt Romney's campaign announced that it and allied campaign committees had raised $76.7 million in May alone. That was about $17 million more than the president's campaign raised during the same time period. Sen. John McCain never once outraised Obama during the 2008 election. In fact, the last time the president was bested by an opponent on fundraising was when Hillary Clinton's campaign brought in $26.7 million to his $22.8 million during the fourth quarter of 2007."

One very important caveat: "[A] good chunk of Romney's haul was going to a Victory Fund, which can accept contributions of up to $75,000, but has to split that money between the presidential campaign, the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the Vermont Republican Federal Elections Committee, the Idaho Republican Party and the Oklahoma Leadership Council. (Obama's Victory Fund, a DNC official confirmed, is shared only by the president's campaign and the DNC.) Romney's Victory Fund, in short, allows his campaign to show off impressive fundraising totals, even though its spending capacity is more limited. Only $35,800 of the maximum $75,000 contribution can go to the Romney campaign and the RNC, leaving $39,200 of a donor's maximum contribution to be divvied up between political committees that will never spend money on the presidential race. Those restrictions take away a bit of the glamour from Romney's May megahaul. But even then, top Democrats weren't feeling bullish with respect to the fundraising race. 'I think the Chicago team has assumed they would be outspent for some time now,' said one adviser who works closely with the campaign."

HuffPost pointed on in May that the Victory Fund won't disclose until July, "Without the disclosure of funds raised by the Romney Victory committee, it's hard to get a full understanding of how the presumptive Republican presidential nominee actually fared in the fundraising race in April. Basic math indicates that the victory committee has raised approximately $18 million. But because the joint fundraising committee is registered as disclosing quarterly, it will not publicly disclose the full extent of its fundraising until July 15. In the interim, this poses a problem for citizens and journalists tracking the money to the Romney campaign and the RNC."

Continuing in HuffPost's series on political consultants in the 2012 campaign is this article by Ryan Grim on the rise of online and digital consulting, "Fewer people are kicking back on the couch to watch live TV, a long-term trend that shows no signs of reversing itself. Even as record amounts of money are being shoveled at local network affiliates lucky enough to have media markets in swing states, a new generation of consultants has its eye on the post-television era. The top 150 consultants have so far grossed just over $214 million this election cycle, according to Federal Election Commission filings. The fourth biggest firm on the list is Bully Pulpit Interactive, a next-generation online consulting shop which runs the Obama campaign's online component. BPI has so far pulled in $18.5 million. (Disclosure: BPI advertises on huffingtonpost.com.) Online consultants in the top 150 have combined to gross more than $49 million, according to a HuffPost analysis. That figure likely covers some spending that wasn't purely targeted at online activity, though the amount would be marginal. In fact, because many traditional firms have minor online components as well, the overall online spending among the top firms is likely much higher."

The Sunlight Foundation reports a new move by congressional Republicans to quash transparency, "[A] House subcommittee voted to defund a Federal Communications Commission initiative announced in April that would provide online access to spending for political ads on some local television stations. In the current election cycle, outside spending has already reached record levels, more than doubling what was spent as of the same date in 2008. The provision, inserted into the financial services appropriations bill, would add to the uncertainty around the FCC's political ad disclosure rule, which is in limbo. The National Association of Broadcasters, a group that represents the major broadcast media companies, sued the FCC to try to block it two weeks ago. The Office of Management and Budget has yet to approve the rule, which at the earliest would not go into effect until next month."

And today, according to ProPublica, House Republicans voted down an amendment to reinstate the funds for the FCC's political ad transparency proposal.

Sheldon Adelson, reigning super PAC don, will give at least $1 million to the pro-Romney super PAC, Restore Our Future.

A Nevada developer who supplied Sen. Harry Reid with thousands in campaign contributions has been indicted for allegedly reimbursing campaign contributions made by family members and employees.

This infographic of campaign fundraising over time would be "awesome" if it didn't exclude small donor numbers, which aren't reported with dates.

Reuters has their own infographic on the big money in the 2012 presidential election. Worth a look.


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
Spot: "Jobs"
Market: Unknown.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: FreedomWorks
Candidate Opposed: Barack Obama
Spot: "End ObamaCare Now"
Market: Unknown.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: American Bridge 21st Century
Candidate Opposed: Mitt Romney
Spot: "Officer Romney's Record"
Market: YouTube.
Buy: None. Just a web video.

Committee: American Crossroads
Candidate Supported: Heather Wilson
Spot: "Voice"
Market: New Mexico.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: Majority PAC
Candidate Opposed: Rick Berg
Spot: "Blind Ambition"
Market: North Dakota.
Buy: ~$74,383.

Committee: American Future Fund
Candidate Opposed: Martin Heinrich
Spot: "Lost"
Market: New Mexico.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: Pete Hoekstra for Senate
Candidate Opposed: Debbie Stabenow
Spot: "Getting America Working Again"
Market: Michigan.
Buy: Undisclosed.


These numbers represent spending by independent groups, like super PACs and non-profits, to support or oppose a particular candidate 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.

Presidential Race:
Mitt Romney (R), $7,327,516 to support, $12,382,717 to oppose.
Barack Obama (D), $491,730 to support, $1,484,879 to oppose. (Oppose: +$119,325)

Most Outside Spending for Congressional Candidates:
TX-Senate: Ted Cruz (R), $827,640 to support, $2,301,841 to oppose.
TX-Senate: David Dewhurst (R), $363,000 to support, $2,481,715 to oppose.
IN-Senate: Richard Mourdock (R), $1,423,990 to support, $633,609 to oppose.
IN-Senate: Dick Lugar (R), $208,628 to support, $1,671,841 to oppose.
OR-01: Rob Cornilles (R), $98,051 to support, $1,219,148 to oppose.


Majority PAC, $74,383 to oppose Rick Berg for Senate in North Dakota.
Life And Marriage PAC, $5,000 to support Kevin Cramer for Congress in North Dakota's At-Large District.
Republican Majority Campaign, $100,000 to oppose Barack Obama for President.
Campaign for Working Families, $1,350 to oppose Barack Obama for President.
Women Vote!, $17,995 to support Grace Meng for Congress in New York's 6th District.
Humane Society Legislative Fund, $5,258 to support Dina Titus for Congress in Nevada's 3rd District.
Humane Society Legislative Fund, $9,779 to support Jim Moran for Congress in Virginia's 8th District.
National Right to Life Victory Fund, $17,975 to oppose Barack Obama for President.


Oklahoma Conservative Values Delegates, Oklahoma City, Okla., Treasurer: Lukus Collins. (Super PAC)
Del Monte Foods PAC, San Francisco, Calif., Treasurer: Ralph Lupian.
Vote Progress, Claremont, Calif., Treasurer: Santiago Stocker.
Infinium Capital Holdings LLC PAC, Chicago, Ill., Treasurer: Gregory Francis Eikbush.
Rock The Red PAC, Charlotte, N.C., Treasurer: Teresa Wilkie Hoefl.

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