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The Obama campaign on Friday sent out an urgent donation plea to supporters, warning that Mitt Romney’s aggressive fundraising push — with more than $100 million raised in June — could cost the president the election.
“For context, that’s about what we raised in April and May combined,” campaign manager Jim Messina told supporters in an e-mail. “We’re still tallying our own numbers, but this means their gap is getting wider, and if it continues at this pace, it could cost us the election.”
Complicating matters, Messina wrote, millions more are being poured into pro-Romney super PACs.
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“Unlike four years ago, it’s perfectly legal for the Koch brothers, Sheldon Adelson, Karl Rove and anonymous billionaires to funnel unlimited money into attacking President Obama in critical battleground states,” he said. “If we don’t take this seriously now, we risk finding ourselves at a point where there is too much ground to make up.”
Romney’s Sunday plans won’t provide the Obama campaign with much comfort: Billionaire industrialist David Koch and his wife Julia are set to host a lavish fundraising dinner for the presumptive GOP nominee at their palatial compound in the exclusive Meadow Lane section of New York’s South Hampton summer resort. (Fashion designers Calvin Klein and Tory Burch are neighbors.) The invitation-only event requests donations of $50,000 apiece for singles and $75,000 for couples.
The event marks a kind of coming-out party for David Koch, who is a well-known patron of the arts in Manhattan, particularly ballet. Aside from a brief flirtation with Republican hopeful Herman Cain, though, Koch and his brother Charles — who together control an industrial and energy conglomerate worth an estimated $50 billion — mainly have financed anti-Obama efforts through their own super PAC, Americans for Prosperity.
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Historically, the Kochs have funded causes and think tanks aligned with their strong libertarian philosophy, which puts them at odds with the Republican social agenda on issues like marriage equality. More recently, the brothers — who analysts say will spend $400 million to defeat Obama and Democratic congressional candidates in the election cycle — have come to identify far more closely with the official Republican Party.
In doing so, they’ve joined a list of at least 32 billionaires who, according to Forbes, have contributed to the campaign of Romney, the richest man ever to seek the Oval Office. At the top of the list is gaming mogul Adelson, who is supporting both Romney and a roster of super PACs backing his campaign.
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