Election 2012 Final Tab: $7 Billion

Thursday, 31 Jan 2013 10:52 PM

 

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President Barack Obama raised $738.5 million for his 2012 re-election campaign, almost as much as the record $745 million he brought in four years earlier, according to Federal Election Commission filings made today.

The president spent $737 million to win a second term. His re-election committee reported that it finished the year $5.9 million in debt and had $3.3 million in the bank.

The final campaign disclosure reports show Obama as the top fundraiser in what will be the most expensive U.S. presidential campaign, with more than $2 billion spent by the candidates, parties and outside groups including super-political action committees. FEC Chairwoman Ellen Weintraub said the final price tag for the entire 2012 election will total around $7 billion.

Obamacare: Massive New Rules Revealed for 2013

In raising about $1.5 billion for his two White House bids, Obama helped erode the Watergate-era campaign finance laws that offered federal funds to candidates in exchange for their agreement to limit their spending.

Obama, 51, in 2008 was the first candidate to turn down taxpayer money for both his primary and general election campaigns. He did the same in 2012, as did his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney.

The president reported raising $5.8 million from Nov. 27 to Dec. 31, following his re-election victory on Nov. 6. He spent $7.9 million in those weeks, including $3.4 million on events and another $1.2 million on payroll.

Rufus Gifford, who led fundraising for the re-election campaign and the inaugural committee, received $21,521 during the final five weeks of 2012, more than any other campaign aide.

Obama Debts

The president’s debts included $300,000 to campaign strategist David Axelrod and another $153,432 to the political consulting firm Axelrod founded, $866,216 for media production, and $254,707 to the Democratic National Committee for telemarketing.

Romney, 65, finished his campaign having raised $483.5 million, including $4.7 million in receipts from Nov. 27 to Dec. 31, and his committee reported $383,275 in the bank.

Romney spent $17.3 million in the closing weeks of 2012, bringing his total expenses to $483.1 million. He paid off the remaining $1.2 million of $20 million his campaign borrowed before the Republican National Convention in August and secured by general-election campaign donations. The campaign reported owing $825,749 to a telemarketing company.

Obamacare: Massive New Rules Revealed for 2013

Giuliani Creditors

It can take years for unsuccessful presidential candidates to clear their debts, if at all. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently paid off the money she owed from her unsuccessful 2008 Democratic presidential campaign. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who sought the Republican nomination the same year, still had creditors waiting to be paid as of the end of September.

In his fundraising, Romney had help from 54 lobbyists who reported raising $12 million from July 1 to Dec. 31 for a joint committee with the Republican National Committee and state parties. The list included leaders of major trade groups including John Castellani, president of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America; Bill Graves, president of the American Trucking Associations; and Jay Timmons, president of the National Association of Manufacturers.

One of the Republicans vanquished by Romney during the party’s primaries, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, reported owing $4.7 million at the end of 2012, including almost $650,000 to himself, FEC filings show.

‘Wild Ride’

Gingrich raised $24.8 million for his campaign, including $151,814 in individual donations during the last three months of 2012, most of which was in amounts of $200 or less. Gingrich won two primaries in the nomination race, and officially ended his self-described “wild ride” presidential bid in early May.

His campaign committee was paid $320,167 from a direct mail firm renting his mailing list. Gingrich, 69, ended 2012 with $75,046 in his campaign bank account.

In addition to the $647,519 owed to Gingrich for travel costs, his other debts included $991,072 to Moby Dick Airways, an air charter company; $35,000 to a former House colleague, J.C. Watts of Oklahoma, for consulting; and $16,526 to another unsuccessful Republican presidential candidate, businessman Herman Cain, for consulting and travel. Cain endorsed Gingrich, a fellow Georgian, for president after ending his own candidacy in late 2011.

Former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, who owed $2.3 million after leaving the presidential race in April, pared down his campaign debt to $732,035, according to the FEC.

Obamacare: Massive New Rules Revealed for 2013

Santorum still owed $482,988 to his former chief strategist, John Brabender, and $15,000 for sponsoring Tony Raines’s Ford Fusion in NASCAR’s Daytona 500 auto race in Florida last February. The race car, with Santorum’s campaign logo adorning the hood, finished 19th.

Santorum’s campaign treasury ended 2012 with $126,274 in the bank; he raised $23.6 million for his candidacy. The FEC filings show he rented out his mailing list, earning $100,000 from his own leadership political action committee and $294,608 from an outside firm.

 

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