Clinton can't claim fundraising title

Revised total ties her with Obama

The New York TimesAugust 13, 2007 

For Sen. Hillary Clinton, it was a monumental achievement: Her campaign announced in April that she had raised $26 million in the first quarter of the year, more than any other presidential candidate.

The tally was especially important because it nudged her past Sen. Barack Obama, whose campaign reported a surprisingly strong $25.7 million, and allowed her to claim victory in the "money primary" that is widely viewed as an early test of endurance in the Democratic race for the presidential nomination.

But like a certain home run record, Clinton's big numbers might require an asterisk.

Her campaign has since had to subtract hundreds of thousands of dollars from its first-quarter total because of a variety of problems, including donors whose credit cards were mistakenly charged twice, contributions exceeding the legal limit and checks that bounced. As a result, her total was reduced to $25.6 million -- dead even with Obama, whose first-quarter take also shrank, albeit to a lesser degree.

All the presidential campaigns have had erroneous or invalid donations. Clinton has reported the most this year, with $540,000. Mitt Romney had $514,000, which as a percentage of his total exceeded Clinton's, although it never endangered his status as fundraising leader among the Republicans. Among the other leading candidates, Obama had $114,000; Rudolph W. Giuliani and John McCain, both Republicans, reported $242,000 and $105,000, respectively; and John Edwards, a Democrat, had $104,000.

Though some questionable contributions are not unusual in big-money contests, a review of the first-quarter results reveals that in Clinton's case, they potentially had the effect of clinching her title as the all-around fundraising leader. The Clinton campaign scoffed at any suggestion that it could have gamed the system to come out ahead (there is no evidence that it did), pointing out that there was no way to know how much money was needed to surpass Obama in the closing days of the quarter.

All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be published, broadcast or redistributed in any manner.

News & Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service