Entries in Campaign Donations (37)


Notable Names on Updated Obama Fundraising List

Photographer: Chris Kleponis/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Actor Will Smith and his wife Jada Pinkett-Smith are among the new names on an updated list of fundraisers released today by the remnants of President Obama’s re-election campaign to reflect fourth quarter contributions.

An Obama for America spokesperson says there were few additions to the list, as the bulk of fundraising came earlier in the race. The 2012 fourth quarter began Oct. 1, just over a month before Election Day.

Smith and Pinkett-Smith are new additions to the list of bundlers who raised north of $500,000. Their appearance is not surprising: In late October the Hollywood couple hosted a fundraising luncheon at their California home for first lady Michelle Obama. The event sold out 250 tickets at a minimum $2,500 per plate.

Other notable names on the list of donors who raised $500,000 or more include former New Jersey Sen. Jon Corzine, Gwen Stefani and Eva Longoria.

The complete updated list can be found here.

Today’s disclosure was a voluntary move by the campaign. Federal guidelines only require candidates to disclose fundraising from registered lobbyists. Obama and Republican Sen. John McCain agreed to disclose all bundlers who raised upwards of $50,000 during their 2008 election bid; Mitt Romney did not follow suit in this most recent season.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Odd Obama Email Subject Lines Drew Huge Cash During Campaign

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Remember all those Obama campaign emails and their, shall we say, unusual subject lines?

“Hey,” wrote President Obama in at least five messages during the campaign.

“Hell yeah,” topped one note from strategist David Axelrod.

Beyonce Knowles teased in an inbox message, “I don’t usually email.”

And women’s rights activist Sandra Fluke provocatively reached out on “Legitimate rape.”

New data released by the campaign show that these and other catchy and casual phrases were hugely successful at getting Obama supporters to open the emails and click through to donate.

Most of the $690 million “Obama for America” raised through online fundraising came from direct email appeals, according to data provided by the president’s campaign exclusively to Bloomberg Businessweek and confirmed by ABC News.

The more casual and profane the tone, the campaign said, the more lucrative the blast.

Obama’s “Hey” subject-lined messages were the most effective pitches of all, though the campaign did not provide a specific dollar amount.

One Obama email blast from June 26 with the subject line, “I will be outspent,” raked in $2.5 million, the data provided to Bloomberg showed.  Other iterations of the same message sent under different subject headings -- e.g. “Thankful every day,” or, “Michelle time” -- were notably less successful, raking in $545,486 and $604,813, respectively.

The campaign relied on a staff of 20 full-time email writers who constantly drafted and experimented with different versions of appeals, officials said, sending them to small lists first to see what was most effective before mailing to a larger listserv of millions of names.

An October report by Return Path, an independent “email intelligence” group, found that Obama’s email campaign dwarfed that of GOP rival Mitt Romney in terms of scope and effectiveness.

The study found that Obama had 13 million email subscribers -- five times as many as Romney -- with a 68 percent inbox placement rate (evading spam filters).  Romney’s placement rate was just 50 percent, according to the group, which based its findings on a random sample of two million inboxes between Aug. 27 and Oct. 10.

All told, by ABC News’ count, Obama sent 65 fundraising emails under his name to his campaign listserv; Michelle Obama sent 35; Obama campaign manager Jim Messina sent 34; deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter sent 45; national field director Jeremy Bird sent 21; and former President Bill Clinton sent nine.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Had Biggest Fundraising Day Ever After Second Debate

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama on Wednesday had his biggest single campaign fundraising day ever -- including all of 2007-2008 -- an Obama campaign aide confirmed to ABC News.

The record surge in contributions was attributed to Obama's stronger second debate performance in New York Tuesday.

The aide declined to discuss specific numbers or amounts raised.

The news was first reported by Mike Allen of Politico.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Campaign Claims of Being Outspent Don't Add Up

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The pleas come with alarming regularity -- sometimes from senior aides, others from Vice President Joe Biden and even from President Obama himself: Donate now or we'll be outspent.

But for all the alarm that the Romney campaign and their outside allies would raise hundreds of millions of dollars from a small group of wealthy millionaires to drown out Obama's message on the airwaves, that hasn't happened.

In fact, the Obama campaign has actually dominated the airwaves where it matters -- in key battleground states across the country.

A recent report by the Wesleyan Media Project found that following the conventions, the Obama campaign and its allies had actually aired more ads in battleground states than Mitt Romney and his allies.

"I do think we all expected that pro-Romney ads would be dominating the air wave and that's certainly not what we've seen in the last five weeks," said Erika Franklin Fowler, co-director of the Wesleyan Media Project.

So far this cycle, the Obama campaign has raised more money overall -- $432 million to Romney's $279 million, according to

And in September, it raised more than any other presidential candidate in history in a single month -- a whopping $181 million.  The Romney campaign has not released its September fundraising totals.

Still, on Monday, Obama campaign senior advisor David Axelrod emailed supporters asking for donations because Romney's allies "are trying to buy this election."

The Obama campaign argues that its successful fundraising from traditional donors doesn't mean they won't be eventually outgunned.  The Romney campaign may not be spending as much on ads, but his outside allies have and they can raise unlimited sums of money from very wealthy donors.

Romney has been aided by his allies in making up the spending difference between his campaign and Obama's.

According to the Washington Post, since mid-April when Romney essentially cinched the Republican Presidential nomination, he and his allies have spent $223 million on ads, compared to $206 million by Obama and his allies.

Of the top 15 groups spending the most on ads on the airwaves during the general election, 11 support Romney.

And last week, the Romney-allied super PAC American Crossroads, along with its sister group Crossroads GPS, pledged $16 million in ads on radio and TV targeting the president, making it their largest ad-buy so far this cycle.

But Romney's outside support may actually be one of the factors explaining Obama's dominance on the airwaves.

Due to Federal Communications Commission regulations, political campaigns can put more ads on the airwaves for their money than outside groups.

"If you add up all the dollars, pro-Romney groups had been spending more in the last few weeks but they were getting fewer ads," Fowler said.

Fowler's study concluded that contrary to popular belief, the Obama campaign had aired more ads than Romney in 14 out of 15 top battleground state markets.  In that 15th market -- Las Vegas -- Obama was outmatched only because outside groups heavily backed their ads with cash.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Group Warns of Foreign, Fraudulent Donors to Obama Campaign

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A conservative political watchdog group is raising the prospect of an “illegal-donor loophole” in the nation’s campaign finance system, and suggesting the grassroots-donor-heavy Obama campaign may stand to benefit.

In a 109-page report published on the new website, the Government Accountability Institute alleges the current online campaign contribution system lacks accountability and transparency, making it highly susceptible to foreign and fraudulent gifts.

The report’s focus is President Obama’s re-election campaign, which has collected historic sums from online fundraising, relying predominantly on donors who give in small-dollar increments.

Obama and Democrats announced last week that they raised $181 million in September -- more than any incumbent president has raised for his re-election in a single month.  The funds poured in through more than 1.8 million transactions, 98 percent of which were in increments of $250 or less, officials said.

“Campaigns that aggressively raise money online are soliciting donations from people around the world -- whether they intend to or not,” writes GAI president Peter Schweizer and Newsweek reporter Peter J. Boyer in a post on the report at Newsweek/Daily Beast.

The report suggests the Obama campaign is uninhibited in its foreign solicitations, lacks rigorous screening for donors’ citizenship and fails to impose basic e-commerce safeguards, such as requiring donors to provide the Card Verification Value (the security code on the back of a card) to prove a donor is in physical possession of the card.

Under U.S. federal election law, contributions from foreign nationals to presidential campaigns are forbidden.

“People around the world are being asked for donations by the campaigns themselves, simply because they signed up for information on campaign websites,” Schweizer and Boyer write.  “The problem: candidate webpages don’t ask visitors from foreign IP addresses to enter a military ID or passport number.  Instead, the websites use auto-responder email systems that simply gather up email addresses and automatically spit out solicitations.”

The authors claim the current system is also subject to “robo-donations” -- computer-driven giving to a campaign through various aliases to evade contribution limits and avoid detection.  The Federal Election Commission conducts little to no oversight of Internet fundraising practices, leaving each campaign to police itself, the report claims.

Schweizer and Boyer present no hard data that show Obama’s 2012 campaign has benefited from widespread foreign or fraudulent donations.  They also acknowledge that Republican nominee Mitt Romney could theoretically take advantage of the “loopholes,” as well.  The report only purports to illustrate that the possibility for fraud exists.

In a post on its “Truth Team” blog, the Obama campaign called the GAI report and its insinuations politically-motivated, citing a history of right-leaning political activism by authors Schweizer and the Government Accountability Institute.

The blog states that “Obama for America” does not accept contributions from foreign nationals and takes voluntary steps to ensure that the campaign is in compliance with federal election law.  At the campaign’s Chicago headquarters, staff manually review each transaction flagged as potentially fraudulent by their third-party credit card processing service, officials wrote.

The president’s campaign also requires a copy of a valid passport from any apparently eligible contributor with a foreign mailing address or from a contributor making a gift from a foreign IP address, according to the post.  “If they do not offer one in a timely manner, the donation is returned,” the campaign says.

“While no campaign can control who visits their websites, OFA is in no way directing solicitations to foreign nationals nor knowingly seeking foreign contributions -- that is the legal standard,” the Obama camp says on its blog.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Super PAC Co-Founder Says Democrats Should ‘Be Very Nervous’

ABC News(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) -- When it comes to a battle of the bankrolls, Bill Burton, co-founder of the super PAC Priorities USA Action, has got a serious warning for Democrats gathered for the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.: Be afraid. Be very afraid.

“I think Democrats should be very nervous,” Burton said on the ABC News/Yahoo News DNC Live Show Wednesday.  “On the Republican side, that money’s not that big of a deal.  On the Democratic side, people aren’t giving for the same kinds of reasons. … You know, most of our contributions come from the entertainment industry.  They’re not gonna sell more movie tickets because Barack Obama gets elected president.  They just care about the issues that are important to Democrats.”

Still, his super PAC is doing pretty well, he told ABC’s Amy Walter and Rick Klein.  Burton noted he’s seen a major uptick in donations in the last month -- including a fresh, half a million dollar check Tuesday night at the convention.

“How does that work?” asked Walter.  “Does somebody just write it to you, and then you just put in in your pocket?”

“That does sometimes happen,” Burton laughed.  “They just write it.  But I don’t have it on me right now.”

Burton said his super PAC is spending in Wisconsin, the home state of possible Republican Vice President Paul Ryan, and he also predicted President Obama will take North Carolina in November.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Donates $5,000 to His Campaign

Obama for America/YouTube(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama made his first, personal donation to his 2012 campaign on Monday with a $5,000 online contribution, the campaign said today.

Obama referenced the gift in an email appeal to supporters ahead of the midnight fundraising deadline for July.

“Friend — Yesterday, I made my first donation to support this campaign,” Obama wrote.

“On its own, what I gave won’t be enough to surmount the unprecedented fundraising we’ve seen on the other side, both from our opponent’s campaign and from the outside groups and special interests supporting him. But we have always believed that there’s nothing we can’t do when we all pitch in. That includes me,” he said.

Obama’s message and gift were aimed at inspiring more contributions from grassroots supporters, whose funds have played an increasingly critical role in the president’s campaign.

In a new campaign video, Obama talks about making his donation and is shown seated at an Apple laptop, logging into his campaign website and making the payment.

"I want to make sure folks know I'm not just talking the talk—I'm walking the walk,” he says to the camera.

“I have cleared this with Michelle,” he adds with a grin, as he appears to enter his credit card number.

The president is also shown filling out the personal information fields as required by law for a political donation. For employer, he writes “The United States of America.” Occupation: “President.”

Roughly 40 percent of all the money Obama has raised in his bid for a second term has come from donors of $200 or less in aggregate, according to the Campaign Finance Institute.  By contrast, presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney has raised just 15 percent of his fundraising total from small-dollar donors.

Obama’s $5,000 donation represents the legal maximum an individual can donate to a candidate’s presidential campaign committee. Individuals can also give up $30,800 per year to a political party under federal election guidelines; but so far Obama has not cut a check for the DNC.

In May, Mitt and Ann Romney each donated $75,000 to his joint fundraising account — the Romney Victory Fund — maxing out contributions to his campaign, the Republican Party, and affiliated groups as allowed by law.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Morgan Freeman Donates $1M to Pro-Obama Pac

Christopher Polk/Getty Images for AFI(LOS ANGELES) -- Morgan Freeman has never made his support for President Barack Obama a secret, but if there was any doubt, this should erase it.  The Oscar-winning star of Dark Knight Rises just donated $1 million to Obama’s re-election effort, reports The Hollywood Reporter.

Since individual contributions to political candidates are capped by law at $2,500 per election, Freeman donated his million to the pro-Obama Democratic super-PAC Priorities USA Action.

In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, Freeman said Obama is doing “a remarkable job in terrible circumstances. …I for one am proud to lend my voice -- and support -- to those who defend him.”

Freeman isn’t the only celeb to pony up the big bucks for the president.  DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg and comic Bill Maher each donated $2 million and $1 million, respectively, to Priorities USA Action, according to THR, with other Hollywood A-listers writing six-digit checks.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Romney Campaign Reports Raising Record-Breaking $106.1M in June

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Romney campaign announced on Monday that it raised $106.1 million in June, marking its best fundraising month to date.

The money was raised by three entities: Romney for President, Romney Victory and the Republican National Committee.

The campaign also reported having $160 million on hand at the end of the month.

Last month's loot far exceeds that of May, when the campaign raised more than $76 million, out-raising the Obama campaign effort by $16 million.  The Obama campaign has yet to release its own fundraising numbers for June.

Romney Victory National Finance Chairman Spencer Zwick said in a statement, “This month’s fundraising is a statement from voters that they want a change of direction in Washington.  Voters of all stripes -- Republicans, Independents, and Democrats -- have made it clear that President Obama has not lived up to the promises of his last campaign."
“Our June fundraising is a sign that voters are fed up with President Obama’s failure to fix our economy and want a change of direction,” said Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus.  “While President Obama thinks that the private sector is ‘doing fine,’ millions of Americans are struggling to find work, pay their bills and stay in their homes."

Romney spent a significant amount of time fundraising in June, including two fundraisers in Michigan on June 20 that Zwick said at the time were the most successful fundraisers to date.  They are expected to take in a combined $8 million.

A two-day swing in Texas in June was also expected to be highly lucrative, as was a similar swing in Southern California.

The Romney campaign also noted that of the $106 million raised, $22.3 million was raised by donations of under $250 -- about 94 percent of all donations.

Contributions were made from all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Romney Campaign Outraises Obama by $16.8 Million in May

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images/PeteSouza/White House(WASHINGTON) -- For the first time this year, Mitt Romney’s campaign has bested President Obama’s re-election effort in a one-month fundraising period.

The Romney campaign, along with the Republican National Committee and a joint fundraising committee set up between the two entities called Romney Victory, raised $76.8 million last month, the campaign announced on Thursday.  The campaign and the RNC also reported ending the month with $107 million cash on hand.

That massive haul tops what the Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee raised in May by more than $16 million, according to their figures announced Thursday morning.

“It is clear that people aren’t willing to buy into ‘hope & change’ again,” Romney’s national finance chairman, Spencer Zwick, said in a statement.  “Voters are making an investment because they believe that it will benefit the country.”

Romney and the RNC formed a joint fundraising committee in early April, but May was the first full month that the Republicans and Democrats went head-to-head on fundraising with Romney as the presumptive Republican nominee.  GOP officials said last month’s totals offer an “apples to apples” comparison -- which they won.

“Our strong fundraising is a sign that Americans are tired of President Obama’s broken promises and want a change of direction in the White House,” RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement.

The Romney campaign noted that 93 percent of all donations received were $250 or less, for a total of $12 million.  The campaign took in contributions from all 50 states.

But the Obama campaign and the DNC still raised more in May -- $60 million -- than they did in either of the last two months.  Their May total is an improvement from the $43.6 million they raised in April and the $53 million reported in March.  (The figures include funds raised by Obama for America, the DNC and two joint accounts.)

“We assumed that he would outraise us in the first month of the general since this was the first full month the joint committee was in existence, allowing his core donors to write their max-out checks,” an Obama campaign official told ABC News.

The Obama campaign declined on Thursday to release its cash-on-hand figure.  The campaign and the DNC ended the month of April with $143 million in the bank.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio