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Surprising the inside-the-Beltway crowd, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin raised $732,867 in the first half of 2009. SarahPAC, her Washington, D.C.-area fundraising organization, has proven to be organized and effective, despite reports to the contrary.
The FEC filing for Jan. 1-June 15, 2009 shows that SarahPAC had 709 itemized donor receipts, some of which were repeat donations. The PAC website allows for one-time donations or monthly donations debited automatically from a credit card.
After expenditures -- only two of which were to other politicians, $5,000 each to Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and John McCain of Arizona -- Palin had $456,666 cash on hand on June 30.
Palin's fundraising so far this year is significant because it proves to the political establishment that she has the ability to raise money from the lower 48 to launch a national campaign.
The filing is also important to show that SarahPAC, which was established in January, is up and running with campaign professionals in D.C. who can manage her future political goals.
But, according to the FEC filing, Palin's fundraising was dwarfed by the GOP's presumptive presidential candidate, Mitt Romney. The Free and Strong America PAC, Romney's fundraising committee, took in $1,924,373 in the first six months of 2009.
After expenditures, Romney had $841,568 in cash on hand on June 30, twice the amount of Palin.
Interestingly, Romney gave a total of $34,213 to 13 other politicians. That demonstrates an effort to lay the groundwork for possible endorsements of his candidacy for 2012.
Of course, these fundraising figures are nothing compared to the money machine of Barack Obama, who raised $745 million to win the White House. Whoever ends up as the GOP candidate for 2012 has to raise about that much in the next three years to catch up to President Obama; that's a lot of rubber-chicken dinners.
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