Romney joins forces with RNC, state parties to increase fundraising

May 21, 2012

Mitt Romney has been on a fundraising tear recently, drawing more than $10 million during a swing through New York this week and another $10 million in Florida last week.

With the primary challenge behind him, Romney is partnering with the national and state GOP fundraising apparatus to stretch donation limits beyond the $5,000 that any one person can give to his presidential campaign.

By joining forces with the Republican National Committee and four of its state-level affiliates, Romney is able to raise $75,800 from one person or more than $150,000 from a couple. That puts him on an even playing field with President Obama, who has been doing the same on the Democratic side since last year.

In April, Romney’s campaign raised $11.5 million and the RNC raised $11.2 million, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission on Sunday night. The Romney Victory Fund, a joint fundraising committee, took in an additional $17.4 million, according to the campaign.

The fund includes state parties in Oklahoma, Massachusetts, Idaho and Vermont. Once they receive the Victory money, they’ll transfer it to battleground states for get-out-the-vote efforts, a Romney aide said.

Overall, the $40.1 million raised by Romney and the RNC puts them nearly even with the Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee, which brought in a combined $43.6 million in April. Obama has also been fundraising aggressively in May, hosting an event at actor George Clooney’s house that reportedly raised about $15 million.

Romney has relied heavily on the finance industry to fill his coffers. Records show that his campaign has taken in $3 million from Fairfield County in Connecticut, as much as he’s raised from Los Angeles County and topped only by the $5.4 million from Manhattan, according to a Washington Post analysis of federal filings. Fairfield has one of the nation’s largest concentrations of hedge funds and other financial firms.

Romney was in Connecticut collecting checks on Sunday. He went on Monday to Manhattan, where the campaign held a breakfast for 70 people near Wall Street co-hosted by Gerald Hassell, president and chief executive of the Bank of New York Mellon. Later, Romney spoke to at least 240 people at a fundraising lunch in the Starlight Room at the Waldorf Astoria in Midtown.

The Romney fundraising surge could be a boon to GOP congressional candidates, because Securities and Exchange Commission rules prohibit financial service executives from contributing to state parties as a guard against pay-to-play schemes in state and municipal bond markets.

“It’s something that everyone in that industry is now highly sensitive to,” said Jason Torchinsky, a Republican campaign lawyer. “One contribution of a couple of thousand dollars could keep your company out of millions of dollars of business. The compliance risk is gigantic for these firms.”

So some money from finance industry donors will be directed to the National Republican Congressional Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee, a Romney aide said. That is in contrast to Obama’s campaign, which has said it will not direct funds to House and Senate races.

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