In three congressional terms, presidential contender Michele Bachmann has made a name for herself as a formidable fundraiser. As of her latest filing with the Federal Election Commission, Bachmann had $2.8 million cash on hand (compared to, say, veteran Ron Paul’s $1.6 million). And she took in $13.5 million in the 2010 election cycle, out-raising the leader of her own party, John Boehner, by almost $4 million and making Bachmann the most prolific fundraiser in the House. So where is she getting all that money?
Bachmann is increasingly getting her money from individuals making small-ish donations, a feat that helps solidify her status as a grassroots, Tea Party-fueled outsider rather than another establishment fixture. Of the $1.7 million she reported raising last quarter, only $1,500 came from non-individuals, and the average donation was just $619.34. But Bachmann didn’t always eschew Political Action Committee money. The Minnesota congresswoman has upped her individual contributions from a little more than half of her total funds to nearly 100%, as seen in the illustration below.