I find that sometimes the mainstream media tends to focus on the big donors to the Presidential campaigns rather than looking at the bigger picture. In this posting, I'll be sourcing my data from OpenSecrets, a website maintained by the Center for Responsive Politics which takes a hard, non-partisan look at campaign financing.
Let's open by looking at individual contributions to the Obama and Romney campaigns and what portion of those donations is coming from large and small donors current to the Federal Election Commission data release on August 6th, 2012, noting that donations that are $200 or less are considered "small" since campaigns do not have to register any personal information about these donors:
The Obama campaign is getting 39.2 percent of its donations from small individual contributors and 60.7 percent from large individual contributors. In sharp contrast, the Romney campaign has received only 19.1 percent of its donations from small individual contributors and 80.3 percent from large individual contributions.
Let's look at a few additional details about the current President's donors.
Donors from New York City have donated $15.304 million, Washington D.C. $12.775 million and Los Angeles $10.273 million.
The top five industries donating to the incumbent are retirees ($27.065 million), lawyers and law firms ($15.394 million), education ($9.178 million), health professionals ($4.976 million) and business services ($4.548 million).
Here is a list of the top ten organizations who have contributed to the Obama campaign this cycle, noting that the money came from the organization's PACs, individual members, employees or owners not the organization itself:
Thus far, the Obama campaign has spent $262,968,849 and has $87,747,678 on hand. Of that, $109.1 million was spent on media expenses, $71.3 million was spent on administration, $19.1 million was spent on campaign expenses and $9.1 million was spent on fundraising. GMMB was the biggest beneficiary of this spending, receiving $71.947 million thus far in the 2012 cycle. In case you wonder who GMMB is, here's what they say about themselves:
"We are societal problem solvers. Engineers of social change. Activists. And realists. We have a point of view that keeps our compass pointed in the direction of progress. If we're working with you, it's because we're passionate about what you believe—we believe it too. It's what drives us in everything we do."
Now, lets look at a few details about the Romney campaign donors.
Here are the four largest donor states, their total donation and percentage of the total:
Donors from New York City have donated $9.574 million, Washington D.C. $6.890 million and Boston $5.452 million.
The top five industries donating to the Romney campaign are retirees ($26.159 - damn those wealthy retirees again!), securities and investment ($11.458 million), lawyers and law firms ($6.797 million), real estate ($6.501 million) and miscellaneous finance ($4.373 million). It is interesting but not surprising to see that Mr. Romney's former financial industry comrades-in-arms are among his biggest donors.
Here is a list of the top fifteen organizations who have contributed to the Romney campaign, noting again that the money did not come from the organization itself:
I added a few more than just the top ten since I wanted to show you where Bain Capital fit in. It is interesting to see that this list is composed of a who's who of Wall Street and the fraction of a percent of Americans who represent the banking industry, you know, the one that just about caused the world's economy to implode four short years ago requiring a trillion dollar taxpayer bailout.
Thus far, the Romney campaign has spent $163,205,427 and has $30,181,373 on hand. Of that, $43.1 million was spent on media expenses, a whopping $34.6 million was spent on fundraising, $28.6 million was spent on administration and $23.2 million was spent on campaign expenses . I must say that I was rather surprised to see that 26.4 percent of all funds spent were used to help raise more funds, a far cry from the Obama campaign's fundraising expenditures of only 4 percent of the total spent. American Rambler Productions LLC was the biggest beneficiary of all of this spending, raking in $40.891 million. American Rambler is a Delaware-registered consultancy that manages multiple strategists from its office in Beverly Massachusetts. Apparently, according to this website, American Rambler was a firm that was set up to do Romney's advertising and media buying. Other than that, very little information is available; try Googling American Rambler Productions and see how little information is out there! Even this link to American Rambler's website is secure, requiring a login.
It is interesting to see how American campaign financing has become big business, especially for some of the firms on the receiving end of campaign dollars. I hope that you enjoyed this little trip down campaign lane. As time passes, I will update and repost this information because an informed voter is a better voter.