Trump, RNC Outstrip Democrats in Fundraising: Campaign Update

Bill Allison

(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump’s re-election effort maintained its financial advantage over the Democratic Party in February, filings at the Federal Election Commission show.

The Republican National Committee ended the month with $76.8 million cash on hand after raising $26.2 million, more than double the $12 million brought in by the Democratic National Committee. It ended the month with $14.1 million in the bank.

Trump’s campaign raised $14 million and ended the month with $94.4 million cash on hand. According to campaign manager Brad Parscale, The campaign has amassed $225 million, including money raised by two affiliated committees that won’t report their fundraising to the FEC until April 15.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, who leads the delegate count for the Democratic nomination, has yet to file his February numbers, which are due at midnight on Friday.

The DNC got a boost from Michael Bloomberg, whose campaign announced Friday it would donate $18 million in leftover funds to the party. That contribution won’t show up at the FEC until the DNC reports in April.

(Disclaimer: Michael Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.)

Sanders Raises $46.7 Million in February (7:37 p.m.)

Bernie Sanders’s success in three early nominating contests in February fueled $47.6 million in fundraising, his latest report with the Federal Election Commission shows.

It was the best month of fundraising for the Vermont senator, whose previous high was the $46 million in March 2016, when he was battling Hillary Clinton for the nomination.

But Sanders may not be able to sustain such high levels of fundraising after former Vice President Joe Biden scored crushing victories in most of the primaries in March.

Although he’s the top fundraiser in the race, Sanders, a self-proclaimed democratic socialist, lags behind Biden in the delegate count, 1,193 to 888. He paused his advertising on Wednesday and is reassessing his campaign.

Sanders ended February with $18.7 million in the bank after spending $45.8 million. Small-dollar donors, those giving in aggregate $200 or less, continued to be the biggest segment of his support, contributing $24.4 million. They’ve given him $98.3 million of the $169 million he’s raised overall.

Biden-Backing Super PAC Raises $4.2 Million (6:48 p.m.)

The super PAC supporting Joe Biden’s presidential bid raised $4.2 million in February, with most of the money pouring in the day before the South Carolina primary that saved his campaign.

Unite the Country got $1 million donations on Feb. 28 from tech investor Reid Hoffman and Yaron Minsky of Jane Street Capital LLC, its latest filing with the Federal Election Commission shows. Steven Laufer, an economist at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, gave $300,000 while Alan Leventhal, founder of Beacon Capital Partners, chipped in $50,000.

In February, the super PAC spent $3.8 million, including $3.5 million in independent expenditures backing Biden, and ended the month with $1.4 million cash on hand. It also made a $25,000 contribution to the Latino Victory Fund.

The super PAC made less than $150,000 in media buys in South Carolina, data from Advertising Analytics shows. It bought $5.7 million in advertising time in Iowa, where Biden finished in fourth place.

In Sunday’s debate of Democratic candidates, rival Bernie Sanders criticized Biden for accepting support from a super PAC, though candidates can’t coordinate with them. Biden pointed out that nine different organizations have spent money backing Sanders, though those groups have combined to spend just $1.5 million. -- Bill Allison

Yang to Give $1 Million to Bronx Families (12:12 p.m.)

Former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang’s proposal for universal basic income has gone from a quirky idea to the political mainstream since the coronavirus pandemic began.

Now the entrepreneur is looking to further it with a $1 million program centered in New York City.

Humanity Forward, Yang’s new nonprofit, will give $1,000 within two weeks to 1,000 working-poor families in the Bronx who are clients of the financial empowerment nonprofit, Neighborhood Trust Financial Partners.

It is also giving $100,000 worth of emergency grants of $250 or $500 directly to people who request it through Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

It’s not the first time Yang has pushed the idea by funding it directly. At a September presidential debate, he announced his campaign would give $1,000 a month to 10 families around the country. In recent days, many elected officials have endorsed the idea of direct cash payments to Americans, and they are included in a stimulus proposal from Senate Republicans. -- Ryan Teague Beckwith

Sanders Hosts Virus Roundtable With Musicians (11:26 a.m.)

Deprived of his signature raucous rallies by restrictions in response to the coronavirus, Bernie Sanders is using musical artists to draw an audience to an online roundtable on the pandemic.

Sanders on Friday will hold a virtual roundtable featuring musical guests Andre Cymone and Nahko Bear of Nahko and Medicine for the People. The topic will be the virus’s impacts on the economy and health-care system. The event will be live-streamed from his campaign office in Burlington, Vermont, at 7 p.m.

Over the past week, Joe Biden and Sanders have both held live-streamed talks on their plans to address Covid-19.

On Monday night, Biden held a tele-town hall with former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy that largely focused on coronavirus. Sanders held a virtual campaign rally where he also discussed the outbreak. Both have also released plans for responding to the pandemic and Biden has formed an advisory committee to address the crisis. -- Emma Kinery

Coming Up

Alaska and Hawaii will hold Democratic primaries on April 4, while Wyoming will hold Democratic caucuses.

(Disclaimer: Michael Bloomberg, the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, also sought the Democratic presidential nomination. He endorsed Joe Biden on March 4.)

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