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Nine Things We Learned From Obama’s FEC Report

Nine Things We Learned From Obama’s FEC Report

By Reid Wilson  July 23, 2012 | 9:27 a.m.

Every month, President Obama’s campaign dumps an incredible amount of data on the Federal Election Commission’s servers, offering a glimpse into one of the largest political operations ever mounted. We sifted through the 243,000 records contained in this month’s report so you don’t have to. Here’s what we learned:

— First, the toplines. The official campaign, Obama for America, raised $45.9 million in the month of June. The Democratic National Committee pulled in an additional $20.5 million. Together, the two committees spent a total of more than $70 million — $58.1 million from the campaign and $12.7 million from the DNC.

— Obama’s campaign still has $97.5 million in the bank, while the DNC is sitting on a stockpile of $37.4 million. Obama’s campaign owes $2.3 million in unpaid debts, while the DNC has obligations of $5.3 million (It’s common for political committees to maintain debts until after an election).

— The report lists more than 237,000 individual donors from across the nation.

— June was a big month for pollsters. The campaign spent more than $2.6 million on polling in June, a number The Weekly Standard first picked up on Saturday. The campaign actually runs its polls through the DNC — the party reported spreading the cash among ten different pollsters last month (A virtual roster of the best Democratic pollsters in the business: The Contact Group, Harstad, Brilliant Corners, American Directions, Winding Creek Group, Angle Mastani Mathews, Anzalone Liszt, Bendixen, Benenson Strategy Group and David Binder).

— It takes a lot of staff to run a presidential campaign. Obama’s team shelled out salaries to 757 staffers, the report shows. The DNC employs another 239 people. Side question: How many more employees would it take to reduce the unemployment rate a few ticks?

— And it’s not cheap to move staffers around the country. Obama’s campaign spent $183,000 on travel in June, including $47,000 on United Airlines tickets, $42,000 on US Airways seats and $39,931 on Southwest Airlines flights. There’s even hope for Amtrak: The campaign bought $1,986 in train tickets last month.

— Advertising is eating up the bulk of Obama’s cash. The campaign reported spending $38 million on television advertising alone last month. They also spent $4.45 million in online advertising, hinting that campaigns are rebalancing their outreach as more Americans go online to get their news.

— Printer ink isn’t cheap. Obama’s team shelled out $6,500 to LD Products, a California company that sells printer ink cartridges.

— Obama’s team is responsive to its donors. When asked, they returned more than $305,000 to donors. The report shows some of those refunds came after donors gave beyond the $2,500 limit on individual gifts.

Keep an eye on this space. Later today, we’ll take a closer look at Mitt Romney’s campaign spending too.

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