* Pro-Obama Super PAC raised $4 mln in May
* Pro-Romney PAC raised $5 mln, American Crossroads $4.6 mln
* Democrats chasing after Republicans in Super PAC money
By Alina Selyukh and Alexander Cohen
WASHINGTON, June 20 The outside "Super PAC"
helping U.S. President Barack Obama's re-election campaign
raised $8 million in May and so far in June, marking its best
months ever as it tries to catch up to deep-pocketed Republican
rivals in the money chase ahead of the Nov. 6 election.
In federal filings released on Wednesday, Priorities USA
Action reported raising $4 million in May and having $4.5
million left in cash on hand. A source familiar with the group's
fundraising said Priorities has brought in another $4 million
The Super PAC backing presumed Republican nominee Mitt
Romney raised $5 million in May and had $8.2 million left in
cash on hand, according to its report filed with the Federal
Democrats had badly struggled to narrow the Super PAC
fundraising gap, caused in part by Obama's own early cash
advantage and the party's distain for unrestrained fundraising
and spending allowed for such groups.
The 2012 election is on track to become the most expensive
in U.S. history and outside spending has already topped $100
Since Romney effectively clinched his party's nomination in
mid-April, his campaign has been closing in on Obama, leaving
Democratic operatives fretting he will become the first
incumbent to be outspent in the race.
In May, for the first time, Romney's campaign fundraising -
donations subject to legal limits - topped Obama's, bringing in
more than $76.8 million. Obama and his Democratic allies raised
some $60 million in the same period.
Wednesday's filings showed Obama and the Democratic National
Committee had $139.4 million left on hand at the end of May.
Romney's campaign said together with its party allies it had
$107 million left in cash on hand. Only $77.8 million of that
has been reported, with the rest presumably sitting in the joint
fund shared by Romney and the Republican National Committee that
is due to report for the first time next month.
An Obama campaign official on Wednesday laid the ground for
a chance that Romney would keep outraising Obama, predicting the
Republican would raise $100 million in June and through the
year, he and various Republican outside groups would spend
$1.225 billion on TV advertising.
American Crossroads, a Super PAC run by former George W.
Bush aide Karl Rove, is another well-heeled group helping Romney
bridge the cash gap with Obama.
In May, it raised $4.6 million and had $29.4 million in cash
left to spend. Crossroads has a non-profit sister group,
Crossroads GPS, that is not required to disclose donors.
In May, Crossroads GPS matched a $25 million TV advertising
blitz announced by the Obama campaign, helping Romney keep cash
in reserve. The two groups have said they plan to spend upward
of $300 million this election season.
Priorities has so far spent some $15 million on advertising,
much of it in recent weeks on ads across six states hitting
Romney on his private equity past and immigration positions.
The pro-Obama group plans to spend another $10 million on
the air through the end of summer, the spokesperson said.
Restore Our Future on Wednesday launched a $7.6 million ad
spree in nine battleground states, picking on Obama's gaffe
earlier this month that "the private sector is doing fine."
NEW BIG DONORS
Much of Restore Our Future's cash in May came from
first-time donors, including a $500,000 check from Arkansas
billionaire investment banker Warren Stephens.
Another check of that size came from Pennsylvania healthcare
executive and founder of Select Medical Rocco Ortenzio,
whose total donation is now $750,000.
Three companies linked to Robert Brockman, an executive at
Dayton, Ohio-based Reynolds and Reynolds, split $1 million in
donations. The companies - CRC Information Systems Inc,
Fairbanks Properties LLC and Waterbury Properties LLC - share a
P.O. box with Brockman's car dealership support company.
Notably absent from the filing is billionaire Las Vegas
casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, whose $10 million pledge to the
group this month is expected to be disclosed in July.
Adelson jumped into the spotlight after he and his family
sent $21.5 million to a Super PAC backing a now-failed
Republican presidential bid by Newt Gingrich. The Super PAC in
May reimbursed Adelson's wife Miriam for $5 million of that.
Crossroads received a $1 million donation from Dallas-based
real estate investment firm Crow Holdings, for a total of $1.5
million in contributions from the company. Billionaire coal
executive Joe Craft of Tulsa, Oklahoma gave $1.25 million in
addition to his company's total gift of $850,000.
Priorities received three $1 million checks in May from
Houston lawyer Steve Mostyn and Florida retiree Barbara Stiefel,
as well as Franklin Haney, CEO of Washington-based real estate
firm FLH Company.