Republicans are still winning at the super PAC game.
Since the newest money-group species was released into the campaign ecosystem in 2010, Democrats have been slower to exploit the legal changes they railed against. Now, they’re lagging behind GOP super PACs’ bank accounts.
In Federal Election Commission disclosures posted online Sunday night, the pro-Romney super PAC Restore Our Future declared a $4.6 million April fundraising take, along with $8.2 million in the bank. That’s a sizable edge over the pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA Action, run by former Obama campaign and White House communications adviser Bill Burton, which raised $1.6 million in April and reported having a$4.7 million war chest.
American Crossroads, the super PAC founded by Karl Rove in 2010, similarly enjoys an edge over the two Democratic groups it will compete against.
On Sunday, Crossroads reported having raised a modest $1.8 million in April, with a more impressive $25.5 million in the bank. To compete with Crossroads, Democrats will rely partly on two separate super PACs, Majority PAC and House Majority PAC, which will focus on Senate and House races, respectively. While those groups only disclose their finances quarterly, and did not report any new numbers on Sunday, it’s unlikely their bank accounts compare favorably to Crossroads’. The last time they did disclose fundraising numbers, at the end of March, they held a combined $4.4 million. At the time, Crossroads had $24 million in the bank.
It’s impossible to tell just how much Democratic and Republican outside-spending groups have at their disposals. Both Priorities USA and American Crossroads involve separate-but-affiliated 501(c)4 nonprofit groups, which do not regularly disclose their finances. Under IRS restrictions, those groups must spend less than half of their money, respectively, on direct campaigning for or against political candidates.
In April, the Crossroads GPS 501(c)4 group released its tax filings, which revealed that it had raised $76.8 million since its inception and had spent $64.7 million, more than twice its super PAC counterpart had spent. The Priorities USA 501(c)4 group has not yet filed any tax returns after receiving an extension from the IRS.