Amanda Carpenter

Sen. Barack Obama (D.-Ill.) dominated second quarter presidential fundraising, but he is still outgunned in campaign cash by Sen. Hillary Clinton (D.-N.Y.)

Obama raised $33.1 million over the last three months and Clinton raised $27 million, according Federal Election Commission reports that were due June 15.

Overall, Clinton has more money, though. She reported having $45.2 million in cash on hand. Obama has $36.3 million in the bank. The main difference between the two leading Democrats’ finances is that more of Obama’s money can be invested into the primary, while a large chunk of Clinton’s cash is earmarked for the general election.

Of the $36.3 million Obama has on hand, he can spend $34.7 million on his primary campaign--$1 million more than Clinton can spend on hers.

Should she win the Democratic nomination for President, however, Clinton already has $12 million tucked away to spend in the general election. Obama only has $1.7 million set aside for the general election.

Primary candidates may only accept donations up to $2,300 per contributor. Any amount over $2,300 from a single contributor up to $4,600 must be put away for the general election should the candidate win their party’s nomination for President. Obama’s campaign has made a strategic decision to concentrate on raising primary cash from a large pool of donors in small amounts. Clinton, on the other hand, has sought donations for the maximum value of $4,600 from wealthy donors to fund both her primary and general election campaigns.

Obama’s campaign manager, David Plouffe, has estimated that the Obama campaign could ask 90 percent of their donors to give again because so many have not given the maximum amount.

Unlike Clinton, Obama will not accept any campaign donations from lobbyists or political actions committees.

“I've got 250,000 people who have donated to our campaign,” Obama said at a campaign stop in Iowa. “We've got people who have been giving $5 and $10 and $25 because we don't take PAC money and we don't take federal lobbyists' money.”

Clinton does take lobbyist money. One firm, DLP Piper US, LLP, was especially fruitful. Their employees donated $176,320 to Clinton’s campaign in the second quarter. Recently, DLA Piper won a controversial bid to lobby the U.S. government on behalf of the Turkish government. One of the firm’s senior counsels, former House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt (D.-Mo.) who twice ran for President, endorsed Clinton for President earlier this month.

Clinton’s war chest is also supplanted by the $10 million she had leftover from her 2006 Senate campaign that she put into her presidential fund.

Amanda Carpenter

Amanda Carpenter is the author of “The Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy's Dossier on Hillary Clinton,” published in October 2006.
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