Breakdown: How Campaigns Spend Their Millions

Jul 25, 2012 3:02pm
gty mitt romney barack obama ll 120716 wblog Breakdown: How Campaigns Spend Their Millions

Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images | Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/MCT/Newscom

On top of the millions they spend on attack ads, presidential campaigns still have to pay the rent.

The following pie charts show how President Obama’s and Mitt Romney’s campaigns spent all their money in June. A few notable points:

  • Romney spends a ton on consulting, especially compared to Obama. In June, 35 percent ($9.3 million) of his budget went to consultants. For House and Senate candidates, it’s common for a good chunk of the strategy, communications, and fundraising work to be done by paid consultants. Political consulting is part of every campaign. But Obama, who’s had six years to build a massive operation, relied far less on consultants and more on paid staff. His payroll exceeded Romney’s by about $1.5 million.
  • Obama runs a boatload of online ads–about $4.5 million worth of them, in June alone. They’re not very expensive; Obama is carpet-bombing the Internet in swing states.
  • Obama pays more rent/utilities, but not that much more. The Obama campaign talks a big game about its ground presence, even though it won’t say how many offices it’s opened. Obama for America paid $260,000 in rent/utilities in June, while Romney for President paid $195,000. The non-humongous difference probably does signify more office space.
  • Payroll taxes are a huge expense for Obama. His campaign paid $1.3 million in payroll taxes in June, while Romney’s itemized none–meaning it either lumped them in with payroll payments or hasn’t paid them yet.
  • Obama’s credit card fees added up to $500,000, probably a byproduct of online fundraising.
  • For “software,” Romney only paid $60,000, while Obama paid $500,000. Voter-targeting and other political software can be expensive, but Obama seems to have spread the business around to places like Google Adwords and Chartbeat
  • Oddest spending: $6,000 for rental car repair by Romney’s campaign, garnished wages from Team Obama.
Romney June spending pie chart blog Breakdown: How Campaigns Spend Their Millions
Obama June spending pie chart blog Breakdown: How Campaigns Spend Their MillionsGet more pure politics at ABC News.com/Politics and a lighter take on the news at OTUSNews.com
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