The Republican National Committee has counted more than $5 million in contributions it cannot use to help Republican candidates until after the November election as part of the pool of money it has available for the 2012 campaign. The RNC has taken in a whopping $5.29 million in donations for a recount fund that could be accessed if the results in the Nov. 6 election are indecisive. In the committee’s Federal Election Commission filings, the money is being counted among the $282,795,014 in total donations that it has received during the current electoral cycle. After the August fundraising period, the committee claimed to have $76,569,658 in cash on hand. In actuality, that figure is close to $71.2 million.
Even with the lower figure, the amount of money the RNC has to spend dwarfs the Democratic National Committee’s cash situation. The latter went into September with $7.1 million in cash on hand and debts of $11.8 million. President Barack Obama’s campaign is in a far better position, with $88.8 million in cash on hand heading into September compared to Mitt Romney’s $50.4 million. Romney’s campaign also carries a $15 million debt.
Having such a large recount fund serves the RNC little in its efforts to elect Romney on Nov. 6. Paul S. Ryan of the Campaign Legal Center said there might be a way to use some of the money prior to the election in preparation for the legal battles that could occur after the election is finished. “The definite constraint on this is it can’t be used for the purpose of influencing the election,” said Ryan. “A party committee might be able to start gearing up for a recount by hiring some lawyers.” Larry Noble, a longtime campaign finance lawyer, stated definitively that recount funds “can be used to fund recounts only. The money won’t help them if there is no recount.”