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'Super PAC' Restore Our Future replenishes coffers for October push

October 19, 2012|By Melanie Mason and Joseph Tanfani
  • An anti-Obama ad by the "super PAC" Restore Our Future.
An anti-Obama ad by the "super PAC" Restore Our Future. (Restore Our Future )

WASHINGTON – A strong fundraising push and a light presence on the airwaves enabled Restore Our Future, the “super PAC” backing Mitt Romney, to end September with replenished coffers, setting the stage for its October spending blitz.

The group pulled in $14.8 million and spent just $4.1 million on ads, ending the month with $16.6 million in the bank, according to filings submitted Friday to the Federal Election Committee.

That’s a much healthier cash outlook than Restore Our Future’s previous month; in August, the group spent three times as much as it took in and ended the month with just $6.3 million on hand.

Charlie Spies, the group’s treasurer, told the Los Angeles Times/Washington Bureau the group spent heavily in August to provide Romney air cover, while the GOP presidential hopeful was still limited to using money raised for the primaries.

“We knew in September the Romney campaign would have their general election funds available,” Spies said. But as Restore Our Future eased off, the Romney campaign did not up its own advertising presence, leaving Team Romney outgunned on the airwaves that month.

The super PAC’s September haul was double that of August, thanks to nearly 40 six- and seven-figure donations. The largest check was a $2-million contribution from Bob Perry, the Houston homebuilder who has given a total of $9 million to the group this cycle. Oxbow Carbon LLC, the energy company owned by William Koch, gave $1 million, as did Houston Texans owner Bob McNair and Missouri construction executive Stanley Herzog.

Steven Lund, former chief executive of the nutritional supplement company NuSkin, and his wife, Kalleen, gave a combined $1 million to the group. Lund was among the super PAC's earliest benefactors; two companies linked to Lund seeded the group with $2 million back in March 2011. Lund’s ties to Romney date back to the 1999, when NuSkin became one of the first major sponsors of the 2002 Salt Lake City Games after Romney took over its operations.

The committee also got a boost from a number of coal mining operators. Four West Virginia companies wrote $25,000 checks to Restore Our Future on Sept. 20. Another $150,000 came from affiliated mining companies in St. Louis on Sept. 19, including Foresight Energy. Joseph Craft, president of the nation’s fourth largest mining operation, added $500,000, bringing his total to $1 million.

Both candidates have sought to depict themselves as supportive of the industry on the campaign trail this week. Romney, in Tuesday’s debate, portrayed Obama as unfriendly to fossil fuels, saying the president is not “Mr. Oil or Mr. Gas or Mr. Coal.”

Obama responded the next day at an Ohio rally, asking the crowd, “Does anybody ever actually look at that guy and think, man, he’s really into coal?”

Additional finance details for outside groups trickled out Friday afternoon, one day before the monthly filing FEC deadline.

Majority PAC, a Democratic super PAC focused on the Senate, announced it raised $10.4 million in September, its best month so far. The group also pulled in $9.7 million during the first two weeks of October.

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