The Obama campaign dropped a bombshell this morning. It announced that, combined with the DNC, the campaign raised a staggering $181 million in September. The windfall is a huge increase over July and August, when the campaign raised around $100 million, although it is slightly down from the $193 million it raised in September 2008. The news should raise eyebrows.
The campaign said that just over 1.8 million people made donations to the campaign last month. According to the campaign, over 500k of these were brand-new donors, having neither given in 2008 nor 2012. 98% of contributions were under the reporting threshold of $250. Of these, the average contribution was $53.
Its really a tale of two worlds. 35k people gave an average of $2,600, while just over 1.7 million people gave an average of $53. Half the campaign’s haul came from people giving around the maximum amount and half from people who don’t have to be disclosed. Seems a bit odd.
The average of $53 from small donors is particularly noteworthy. Contributions under $200 don’t have to be disclosed, but the campaign still has to keep track of the donor’s name, in case subsequent donations push their contribution over the reporting threshold.
For contributions under $50, however, the campaign doesn’t even have to keep track of the donor’s name. It is effectively considered a “petty cash” donation. A person could theoretically make 10 $49 donations and never be reported, even though their total contributions are above the FEC’s reporting threshold.
With an average donation of $53 from small donors, Obama has A LOT of donors who will never be disclosed and whose names aren’t even known to the campaign. Tens of millions of dollars worth.
Today’s report certainly adds a great deal of interest to this news story from last week.