“We’ve been able to raise a lot of money and give out a lot of money, but we’re not done yet,’’ said Eric Fehrnstrom, a Romney adviser. “We’re still in the process of identifying races where we can make a difference, so we will remain active until Election Day.’’
The impressive fund-raising totals are not surprising, given Romney’s connections and capabilities, said Corwin D. Smidt, a Michigan State University political scientist who studies fund-raising networks. But what is more important, he said, is “how he is able to capitalize on these resources and branch out to other contributors who are not solidly in his camp.’’
Individuals are permitted to donate up to $5,000 annually to political action committees, which often serve as clearinghouses for politicians to bolster relationships with existing supporters and prospective allies.
For former national candidates such as Romney and Palin, PACs offer a temporary fund-raising structure to use between campaigns. The success of the PACs hints at a politician’s fund-raising prowess in anticipation of a 2012 presidential race that will probably require hundreds of millions of dollars.
Palin’s committee, called SarahPAC, has raised about $1.3 million so far this year, the bulk of it in the second quarter. Governor Haley Barbour of Mississippi raised $278,000 for his Haley’s PAC through the end of May. (The latest filings are not yet due). Pawlenty will report that the Freedom First PAC he launched last fall has taken in about $1.3 million this year, according to a spokesman.
Newt Gingrich, former House speaker, has raised $72,000 for his American Solutions PAC, in addition to $3.4 million for a different kind of committee, called a 527 group, that can raise with few limits but is prohibited from interacting directly with candidates or parties.