President Obama’s campaign money machine has begun to funnel cash to state Democratic parties in key 2012 battlegrounds, according to Federal Election Commission filings released Tuesday.
The transfers through the Swing State Victory Fund — a joint fundraising account run by Obama for America — signal a new effort to broaden and strengthen the state-level apparatus working to win the president a second term.
The fund raised more than $1.3 million in December, the month it was created, FEC documents show. It dispersed a small fraction of that cash — $5,500 total, in $500 increments – to Democratic Party organizations in 11 states, with much more expected in the months ahead.
The targeted states include Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin — all won by Obama in 2008 but places aides anticipate will be hotly contested in 2012.
Notably absent from the list are New Mexico and Arizona, which Obama strategists have said would be potential keys to victory in November and the focus of a robust organizing effort.
The emergence of the Swing State Victory Fund also marks a new phase in the Obama campaign’s effort to further tap into support from their base of elite donors, many of whom have already given the legal individual maximum to Obama ($5,000) and the Democratic National Committee ($30,800).
Under federal law, each individual is also allowed to donate up to $10,000 per state or local party committee – a gift Team Obama is eager to help through the Swing State Victory Fund.
Of the 148 individual donors to the fund so far, 54 are Obama bundlers, or top campaign financiers who’ve maxed out to Obama/DNC and then collected tens of thousands of dollars from their friends and associates who do the same.
Most of the contributions came in increments of $9,200.
The Swing State Fund is the Obama campaign’s second joint fundraising committee. The Obama Victory Fund, which has been the primary beneficiary of Obama-sponsored fundraisers since April, channels cash to Obama’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee.
Joint fundraising committees, which are common and legal, “appeal to a candidate’s wealthier supporters because they facilitate the writing of larger checks — checks larger than most voters could ever afford to write,” said Paul Ryan of the Campaign Legal Center.
“They make it easier for people with money to give it away to multiple political committees with a single check at a single event, instead of having to attend multiple events and write multiple checks.”