Saturday night’s Federal Elections Commission filings also shed light on Republicans’ edge in spending this month, an ongoing battle among several outside groups to be Biden’s preferred super PAC and Justin Amash’s brief run for president.
POLITICO dug through the numbers and here’s six takeaways from this month’s filings:
Trump, RNC spending dwarfed Biden, DNC
The president’s campaign and the RNC far outpaced Biden and the DNC in spending in May. Trump’s team spent about $46.5 million during the month, while Democrats spent about $24.1 million — a reflection of Trump’s significant cash-on-hand advantage over Biden, who became the presumptive Democratic nominee two months ago.
But the spending totals are likely not a full picture, because any spending by the candidates’ joint fundraising committees is also not accounted for. In particular, one of Trump’s joint fundraising agreements focused on small-dollar fundraising routinely spends millions on Facebook advertising over the course of a month.
Much of the president’s and Biden’s spending was on advertising — a category that will continue to balloon as the campaign turns to the general election. The Trump campaign spent $19.8 million on ads through the company American Made Media Consultants, which was created by campaign officials to handle its advertising purchases. Biden’s largest expenditure was $3.6 million to the media buyer Infogroup.
The RNC spent over $1 million on “legal and compliance services” during the month, including nearly $200,000 to “Alan Dershowitz Consulting LLC.”
The Trump campaign spent more than $470,000 on polling in the month of May. Most of that spending went to the polling firm Fabrizio, Lee & Associates — but the Trump campaign also paid $98,000 to the firm of the pollster John McLaughlin, who wrote a memo for the Trump campaign in June to try to discredit a national poll from CNN that showed the president performing poorly.
Democratic Super PACs battle for a fundraising edge
A handful of super PACs are jockeying to be Biden’s preferred outside group. Their fundraising totals showed that one has amassed a commanding lead.
During the presidential primary, Unite the Country boosted Biden when he needed it most, helping his campaign rebound from losses in Iowa and New Hampshire to a decisive Super Tuesday performance. That March, the super PAC brought in more than $10 million. But over the past two months, the super PACs fundraising cratered, bringing in $723,000 in April and $1.3 million in May.
The drop occurred after Biden’s campaign initially signaled Priorities USA, another group that led outside Democratic spending in 2016, would be its preferred super PAC. Those moves are closely tracked by big-money donors, who want to stick with the favored outside group.
Priorities USA, which backed Biden after Super Tuesday, raised $7.5 million last month. The group told the Los Angeles Times it secured $38 million in donations and commitments since early May, two-thirds during the last three weeks. That would mean a huge spike in the group’s June fundraising totals.