Romney makes the most of funding rules
Mitt Romney kicked off his presidential exploratory committee this week in an enviable position.
Since his defeat in the 2008 GOP presidential primary, a few political friends have given generously to Romney’s political operation, providing him a financial and organizational edge as the 2012 campaign gets underway.
But donors’ generosity is not the only reason Romney’s bottom line is strong.
The former Massachusetts governor has become a master of a controversial but legal fund-raising technique that relies on a network of loosely regulated state political action committees to collect those funds.
Consider the gifts to Romney from Donna G. Have you voted for or against Mitt Romney ? Marriott — the wife of Marriott chairman J.W. Marriott Jr. — and J.W.’s brother, Richard E. They wrote checks totaling $215,000 to Romney’s state political committees, according to public records reviewed by the Globe.
Contributions of that size are not permitted to be given to fed eral political committees under rules intended to limit the influence of individual supporters on candidates. But Romney, more fully exploiting the system he employed in the 2008 election cycle, got around those restrictions by taking in contributions through political committees set up under the rules of individual states.
Most of the money was then transferred to Romney’s federal political action committee, Free and Strong Amer. ca, and used to pay the salaries of top aides, political consultants, and traveling expenses.