Federal Politics

Published — June 24, 2011 Updated — May 19, 2014 at 12:19 pm ET

Obama groups raise $4-5 million in first two months

Introduction

Two Democratic groups seeking big bucks to boost President Obama’s re-election have tapped several high-powered fundraisers to help rope in $4 million to $5 million in the first two months. They’ve also snagged pledges for two to three times those sums towards their joint goal of raising at least $100 million.

The two groups, Priorities USA Action and Priorities USA, are benefiting from the help of leading Democratic fundraisers and donors such as Hollywood producer Jeffrey Katzenberg, Wall Street hedge fund executive Orin Kramer and Washington lobbyist and strategist Harold Ickes.

Priorities USA Action is a 527 Super PAC which must disclose its donors and file quarterly reports, but Priorities USA, is a 501(c)(4) group that doesn’t have to reveal its donors or file regular reports. Both groups can accept unlimited checks and under law must operate separately from the Obama campaign.

The groups were set up in late April by two former high level White House aides, Bill Burton and Sean Sweeney, to compete with major GOP groups. “We feel like we’re ahead of where we need to be,” Burton told iWatch News. “People are feeling the urgency of what we’re doing. It’s good that some people have stepped up early.”

Burton said their efforts will counter a network of well-heeled GOP groups—including a few with close ties to Karl Rove and the billionaire Koch brothers—which together spent well over $200 million last election cycle on negative ads and get out the vote efforts to help their party win the House. Democratic allies, primarily labor unions, spent almost as much, albeit closer to the election and mostly on get out the vote efforts.

GOP allies of presidential candidate Mitt Romney have unveiled their own Super PAC, called Restore Our Future PAC, which is raising millions of dollars to boost his candidacy. If Romney wins the nomination, it would be a direct competitor to the Burton groups.

Last month, Priorities USA Action bought ads criticizing Romney in South Carolina.

To boost fundraising, Ickes was recruited to be president of the 527 Priorities USA Action. Ickes, a former deputy chief of staff in the Clinton White House, in 2004 helped spearhead a group called the Media Fund which teamed up with another Democratic group to raise about $200 million for a mix of advertising and get out the vote activities.

Ellen Malcolm, another fundraising star who founded Emily’s List, a group that historically funneled big money to women candidates, is lending a hand at Priorities USA, the affiliated 501(c)(4) group which doesn’t have to disclose its donors.

The Democratic groups have also benefitted mightily from veteran Democratic strategist Paul Begala, who is shuttling to some donor solicitations in New York, Boston, Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles and other cities.

Overall, the climate this year is more difficult for outside Democratic groups than in 2004 in part because they don’t have George W. Bush in the White House to run against, say fundraisers. Now that a Democrat is in the White House, it’s the Republicans’ turn to use the sitting president as a money-raising foil.

Another challenge facing the Democrats this year is convincing billionaire George Soros to open his checkbook wide. To date, he has only given $75,000 to the House Majority PAC. In 2004, Soros chipped in about $20 million to the Democratic groups.

The two new groups claim they cannot match dollar for dollar what some of the bigger GOP allied groups have set as goals for this election cycle. American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS, two groups that have relied heavily on fundraising help from political guru Karl Rove, have said they’re aiming to raise $120 million for the next election, versus the $71 million they raised in 2010.

Over the last few months, Rove has done a number of one-on-one pitches to wealthy GOP donors in a few states including Florida and Texas, say GOP fundraisers.

In an early sign of its financial strength, Crossroads GPS announced Friday that it was launching a two-month, $20 million television ad blitz attacking Obama’s record on jobs, the deficit and the overall economy. The first ads will start June 27 and run in key battleground states such as Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Nevada and Virginia.

American Crossroads, a 527, in the first six months of this year has reported raising $3.8 million, so the funds allocated for the ad blitz underscore a surge in secret donations to Crossroads GPS, a 501(c)(4) entity.

Some campaign finance watchdogs and GOP groups have charged that the new Democratic effort is hypocritical since during the last elections Democrats blasted Republicans for taking secret funds through entities that didn’t have to disclose their donors.

Burton defended the use of public and secret fundraising arms. “It was our view that Rove and the Koch brothers had enough advantages and we weren’t going to give them another one by not engaging in every way they were.”

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SOUTH JERSEYTed SiroisMark SullivanTom LarkinAnonymous Recent comment authors
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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.

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