Romney, Republicans pull in more cash than Obama in October

Republican presidential candidate Gov. Mitt Romney and President Republican presidential candidate Gov. Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama laugh as Romney gets up to address the 67th annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner, a charity gala organized by the Archdiocese of New York at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in Manhattan. (Oct. 18, 2012) Photo Credit: AP

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President Barack Obama's re-election committee again raised more money than Republican nominee Mitt Romney last month, though the challenger and his allies -- including super-political action committees -- entered October with more combined money to spend.

Romney, the Republican National Committee and super-PACs Restore Our Future and American Crossroads began the final full month of the 2012 campaign with $178 million to spend, compared with $111 million for Obama, the Democratic National Committee and the super-PAC Priorities USA Action, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission. The DNC's coffer included $10.5 million it borrowed.

Even so, Obama had direct control over more money than Romney entering October, with the president's campaign having $99.3 million on hand compared with a bank account balance of $63.1 million for the former Massachusetts governor. That means spending decisions on most of the money on Romney's side of the leger falls to officials with the Republican National Committee and the super-PACS supporting him.

Romney and his allies, even with the bigger combined funding, ran fewer commercials than Obama's side during the first two weeks of October, according to New York-based Kantar Media's CMAG, which tracks campaign advertising. Between Oct. 2 and Oct.

15, Obama and his allies ran 72,267 ads, compared with 51,794 run by Romney and his backers.

Candidate Totals Obama has raised a total of more than $567 million for his re-election, including $126.1 million last month, while Romney has brought in more than $361 million, including $77.7 million in September. The president has outraised the Republican every.

Obama outspent Romney, $115.6 million to $65 million, last month. Obama spent $90 million and Romney spent $37 million on broadcast advertising, according to the FEC reports.

Romney's expenditures during the month included $10 million to help pay down a $20 million loan, secured by general-election donations, that the campaign took out to cover spending until he officially became his party's nominee in late August. The campaign now owes $5 million on the loan.

Staff Bonuses The Romney campaign gave bonuses totaling at least $217,500 to at least 10 senior campaign aides to augment their regular salaries, according to the FEC report. Political director Rich Beeson received $37,500 and campaign manager Matt Rhoades, policy director Lanhee Chen and communications director Gail Gitcho were among six campaign staff members who received $25,000 each. Three aides received $10,000.

The payments were made Sept. 12-13 from leftover funds raised for Romney's primary campaign. Similar payments were made on Aug. 31, after the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida.

Obama picked up support in September from the financial industry, which has been the biggest source of campaign contributions to Romney, a co-founder of the Boston-based private equity fund Bain Capital LLC. Employees of Bank of America Corp., based in Charlotte, North Carolina, where the Democratic convention was held, gave Obama more than $66,000, while employees of New York-based JPMorgan Chase & Co. donated more than $55,000.

Employees of the two banks gave Romney about $40,000 in total last month.

Longoria Listed Obama's campaign released an updated list of his top fundraisers, those who bundle contributions from individuals. Actress Eva Longoria is among those who have now raised more than $500,000 for the campaign, and former Republican Governor Charlie Crist of Florida, who ran for the Senate in 2010 as an independent, brought in between $100,000 and $200,000.

Romney has declined to release a list of his bundlers.

Romney's September donations included $10,000 from the political action committee of Citizens United, the group whose lawsuit over an anti-Hillary Clinton film led to a 2010 Supreme Court decision that removed restrictions on campaign donations by companies and unions.

The PAC of Dallas-based AT&T Inc., the largest U.S. phone company, gave $5,000 to Romney last month. The Obama administration opposed AT&T's proposed $39 billion merger with T-Mobile USA Inc., and the companies dropped their plans in December.

Priorities USA Action raised $15.3 million last month, surpassing the $14.8 million reported by Restore Our Future.

Spielberg Contribution Movie director Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO of Dreamworks Animation SKG Inc., each gave $1 million to Priorities, as did lawyer David Boies, who represented then-Vice President Al Gore in the U.S. Supreme Court case that awarded the 2000 presidential election to Republican candidate George W. Bush. Katzenberg gave $2 million last year when the super-PAC was getting started.

Media executive Fred Eychaner, a top donor to Democratic candidates and causes, gave $2 million to the pro-Obama group in September after earlier donating $1 million to it. James Simons, chairman of Renaissance Technologies LLC, an East Setauket, New York-based investment firm, contributed $1.5 million to Priorities, bringing his total donations to it to $3.5 million.

American Crossroads, the super-PAC that Karl Rove, the chief political adviser to President George W. Bush, helped found, reported raising $11.7 million last month and spending $27.9 million, including more than $14 million on anti-Obama advertising.

Harold Simmons, chairman of Dallas-based Contran Corp., donated $2.5 million, bringing his total contributions to American Crossroads to $13.5 million.

Simmons last month also contributed $500,000 to Restore Our Future, bringing his total donations to that super-PAC to $1.3 million.

John Hess, chief executive officer of the New York-based Hess Corp., gave $100,000. Hess's late father, Leon Hess, owned the New York Jets football team before it was purchased by Woody Johnson, Romney's New York finance chairman.

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