Obama committee fundraising falls behind

2012-02-21 10:00
Washington - Priorities USA Action, the independent "Super PAC" set up to help Democratic President Barack Obama win re-election in November, raised a paltry $59 000 in January, Federal Election Commission filings showed on Monday.

The surprisingly low figures for the PAC, or political action committee, contrasted sharply with the tens of millions of dollars raised by its Republican counterparts.

The figures reinforced concerns among Obama's advisers that even though his campaign is raising far more than those of his potential rivals, PACs that help Republicans could make up that difference to the point that the Democratic president's re-election effort could be outspent by his opponents.

Obama's campaign is still a fundraising juggernaut, raising $29.1m in January along with its Democratic allies.

Individual donations to campaigns are limited to $2 500 during the primary season and another $2 500 for the fall general campaign. Because of a 2010 Supreme Court ruling that banned limits on fundraising and spending by independent political groups, Super PACs have no limit on donations.

Shift for Obama

The problems at Priorities USA and the huge amounts being raised by Republican Super PACs led the campaign to decide this month to help give Priorities more fundraising muscle.

Obama campaign manager Jim Messina announced on February 6 that campaign and White House officials would start appearing at fundraising events for Priorities.

That was a shift for Obama, who opposed the Supreme Court ruling that erased longstanding limits on corporate and union money in federal elections.

Priorities USA Action had raised just $4.2m by the end of January, only a fraction of that raised by Restore Our Future, the group supporting Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney, which had raised $36.8m by the end of last month.

The January figures showed Priorities had $1.3m in cash on hand at the end of January and no debt.

Read more on:    barack obama  |  mitt romney  |  us  |  us elections 2012

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