NEW YORK | All presidential candidates and the people who run all independent political action committees must file campaign finance reports with the Federal Election Commission. These Reports and statements filed by political committees may be inspected and copied by anyone. You can check them at: http://www.fec.gov/disclosure.shtml.
Now that every candidate is relying on Super PACS, a type of political group that can raise and spend unlimited funds, the key is to know who are the wealthy donors backing each one of them and how much are they ready to spend. Some of these groups released new numbers Monday night.
GOP candidate Mitt Romney raised more than $6m last month (although spent nearly $19 million, leaving him with about $7.7 million in cash). Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum, who is now leading Romney in national polls, had his best fundraising month of the campaign. He raised $4.5 million, more than twice the amount he collected in all of 2011, as explained in The USA Today (btw, he spent $3.3 million, leaving him with about $1.5 million in cash). Newt Gingrich raised $5.6 million during January, but spent almost $6 million. As I write this piece, Texas Representative Ron Paul had not yet filed his January fund-raising report, due by midnight on Tuesday.
“The new fund-raising reports suggest that all of the candidates may struggle to keep up the kind of ad wars that they have been waging as the campaign moves to multiple states — and expensive markets — in the days ahead.”, writes Michael D. Shear for The New York Times.
To date, President Obama is leading the funding race with $151 million (democrat party+donations+Super PACs). The question of the year, as some put it, is to know if he will manage to get as much as he did in 2008. Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney is second, with $64 million collected. You can check all the figures and savvy comments at Politico.
Theoretically, Super PACs must legally remain independent from the candidates. Just theoretically: many are run by their close allies and their financial support has come at crucial moments in the campaign.