Federal Politics

Published — May 17, 2011 Updated — May 19, 2014 at 12:19 pm ET

Mitch Daniels’ state PAC raised more money than other presidential wannabees

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels Jose Luis Magana/AP

Introduction

While Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels coyly dodges questions about his presidential intentions, he quietly raised more money for his state political action committee than any other potential 2012 Republican candidate.

According to a new report from the National Institute on Money in State Politics, Daniels’ Aiming Higher state-level PAC raised $2,182,953 in 2010. The next closest total during this time period comes from Mitt Romney’s Free and Strong America PAC, with $1,623,044.

Only two other candidates have raised money via state-level PACs, according to the report: Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s Freedom First PAC, with $337,570 and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum’s PAC, with a reported $2,250, plus an undetermined amount in Pennsylvania. The four combined to take in over $4.1 million during 2010.

In 2010, Daniels collected money through only one PAC, in his home state of Indiana. Romney, who collected almost $600,000 less than Daniels, registered PACs in Alabama, Michigan and the key primary states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. iWatch News recently reported on Mitch Daniels’ tenure at pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly. His state PAC received at least $80,000 from top Lilly executives in the 2004 and 2008 election cycles.

Under federal election laws, donors can give a maximum of $5,000 a year to a federal PAC. Those rules don’t apply to state-level PACs, and some states allow donors to give massive amounts of money to a candidate of their choice. The development of state level PACs is often seen as a sign of a serious presidential contender. Donors to state level PACs can contribute from all over the country, leading some campaign finance experts to worry that state level PACs create a back door to avoid federal campaign limits.

For example, Edward Conard of Bain Capital LLC maxed out at $5,000 to Romney’s federal PAC, but gave Romney another $68,000 through state-based committees. Romney helped found Bain.

“There’s a number of reasons people may create a PAC at either the federal or state level,” says Dave Levinthal of the Center for Responsive Politics. “At the end they benefit the candidate and allow for potentially the same people who are making and maxing out contributions at the federal level to have another entry point into supporting the general political efforts of somebody who may very well be running for president in the near future.”

Among Daniels’ largest contributors were Hoosiers for Economic Growth at $58,353 and Pennsylvania investor Jeffrey Yass at $50,000.

Brian McGrath, executive director of Daniels’ Aiming Higher PAC, told iWatch News that the PAC was “laser-focused on winning a majority in the Indiana House” during the 2010 cycle. “That was the only goal of our PAC activities.” McGrath said there were no plans to extend the PAC outside of Indiana state activity.

“No decisions have been made on what role Aiming Higher PAC might have going forward,” he said.

While state level donations create another avenue for candidates to solicit contributions, the amount raised thus far is tiny compared to what candidates will raise over the next two years. Romney’s $1,623,044 looks good until you consider that it took him all of 2010 to raise that amount. His phone bank drive on Monday brought in over $10 million in a single day.

The author of the report, Anne Bauer, told iWatch News that, given how campaign finance laws vary from state to state, it is possible that money was missed at the state level. She points to one particularly egregious example in Pennsylvania, where the secretary of state’s office could not locate Santorum’s disclosure filings.

The report, which covers only the year 2010, will be updated in the future with more recent contributions. Daniels own campaign disclosures show that Aiming Higher PAC has raised just over $60,000 in the first quarter of this year.

The report also noted potential presidential candidates who doled out money to state-level candidates. These funds could have come from either state or federal PACs. Doling out cash to support a local campaign can pay dividends when a local endorsement is needed.

The report found that eight Republican presidential wannabees combined to give just over $2 million to local candidates, over the course of the entire 2010 cycle. Again, Daniels’ Aiming Higher PAC took the lead, donating over $1.4 million to local candidates in his home state of Indiana. And again, Romney raised less money but was active in more locations, doling out $392,876 to candidates in 25 different states. Pawlenty contributed $167,251 to candidates in 14 states.

Other possible GOP candidates, including Santorum, Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin, Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich, gave much smaller amounts in fewer states.

Reporter Laurel Adams contributed to this report.

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Mark Sullivan
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Mark Sullivan

Trump needs to conduct these activities because the entire MSM media, excluding Fox, is campaigning against him 24/7/365.

Didn’t Monica’s boyfriend’s wife and various criminal enterprises outspend Trump by almost 2-1?

CapitalistRoader
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CapitalistRoader

Why wouldn’t he get an early start on fund raising? Hillary outspent him two-to-one in 2016. The Dem’s are the party of big money. The President knows this and is attempting to get a jump on it. Of course the Dem candidate will outspend him in 2020 so it’s only rational that he starts fund raising now.

George Young
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George Young

Oh brother. We just 8 years of the Campaigner – in – Chief. Where was this journalistic rectal thermometer then. Just another article about 2000 words too long that merely takes another slap at Trump for something he far from initiated.

j stevenson
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j stevenson

The big difference between Trump and all the rest is his refusing to accept funds from lobbyists, so they don’t have the White House access they are used to. These are the donors who buy the presidency and are as pixxed off that he won the election as are the media and the Dems. Lobbyists have never been shut out of the WH and Trump has told them he is not for sale.

jan v
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jan v

all the lobbyists are running all our government agencies and all the career civil servants who know how to run the country have been fired. YOU think this is a good thing ? what a crock…

thomas alessi
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thomas alessi

I am for Trump

Martin Shellabarger
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J. Stevenson, what are you drinking? Trump has more lobbyists in his administration than probably any other president. Trump is totally “for sale”, and the corporations know it. Grow a brain!

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Trump needs to be impeached and tossed in prison. Then have the key thrown away so he will never be free. Then he can see how it feels not to have freedom.

Mark Sullivan
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Mark Sullivan

Thank you for the usual insightful leftist low IQ Snowflake response.

barney
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hes not imprisoning them hes sending them back to their country chill tf out

SOUTH JERSEY
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SOUTH JERSEY

WHY DONT YOU HAVE FREEDOM?

Tom Larkin
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Tom Larkin

First, something positive. I was happy to learn of empirical information in article. BUT, the article was so slanted against President Trump as to be deemed fake news (“Perhaps Trump just lied.” (Two different issues)). The article mentions that President Trump raised over $67 million, but ended 2018 with $19 million. President Trump spent over $40 million 2016 and 2017. President Trump conducted 57 political rallies. The article notes the hats and T-shirts sold, but NEVER MENTIONS THE INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF REPUBLICAN SENATORS during a mid-term election that lost the House and the number of political rallies in… Read more »

Ted Sirois
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Ted Sirois

At least Trump is getting donations from willing donors. Fresh from his first election, Obama used billions of our children’s tax dollars to save thousands of union jobs in the car industry and bailed out the banks and many Wall Street businesses. This secured his source of reelection funds for his reelection four years later.

South Jersey
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South Jersey

TRUMP 2020; IS AN AMAZINGLY SMART MAN! VERY ORIGINAL & CREATIVE. I AM HAPPY TO HAVE HIS AS POTUS.

SOUTH JERSEY
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SOUTH JERSEY

THIS ARTICLE WAS OBVIOUSLY WRITTEN BY, A TRUMP-HATE-GROUP. THAT FEELS; IT IS NOT NORMAL TO BE SUCCESSFUL WITH YOUR OWN BRAND NAME. WHEN, IF FACT, IT IS NORMAL! >>>>> THIS IS >>> FAKE NEWS!!! <<<< ie: A PACK-OF-LIES; SPUN INTO; DEFAMATION OF CHARACTER. FOR A SINISTER-AGENDA OF; FASCIST DEMOCRATIC SOCIALIST, COUP D'ETAT

David
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David

Are you on some kind of drugs? Writing in caps makes me think that you are grumpy old fart or a uneducated hillbilly.