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Health care ruling triggers millions in campaign donations

By Michael A. Memoli, Tribune Washington Bureau –

WASHINGTON — The long-term political consequences of last week’s Supreme Court ruling on the health care law remains unclear. But early indications show that as a fundraising tool, the 5-4 decision is a boon for both parties.

Within hours of the decision being announced, Mitt Romney’s campaign was tweeting hour-by-hour updates on how much a grass-roots fundraising drive was netting the campaign. After 24 hours, more than 47,000 donors had contributed a total of $4.6 million.

The Obama campaign, which also hit up supporters for post-decision donations, declined to specify how much it raised, though a spokesman said it was more than what the Romney campaign said its effort drew.

Other Democratic campaign committees have touted an unprecedented cash infusion after the Supreme Court ruling.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said that June 30, the Saturday after the ruling, was the “single biggest grass-roots’ fundraising day” in its history. In total, $2.3 million was raised from 65,000 donors after the high court ruling.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee said it raised $2.5 million in the 48 hours after the decision, and shattered its one-day record for the number of online contributions it received.

“There should be no misunderstanding. The decision by a conservative Supreme Court to uphold the president’s health care law generated tremendous enthusiasm and financial support for our committee and our candidates,” DSCC Executive Director Guy Cecil said.

Spokesmen for the respective Republican congressional committees declined to specify their hauls. A fuller picture will come when detailed fundraising reports are due later this month.

It’s worth noting that the court decision came at the close of campaign committees’ second-quarter filing period, a time of intense fundraising, making it difficult to discern exactly how much of the cash flow was driven by the ruling.

The Romney campaign reportedly took in a combined $100 million for the entire month of June for itself and allied fundraising accounts with the Republican National Committee.

That sum, which Democratic aides had predicted, was quickly turned into a new solicitation for the president’s campaign, which noted the Romney-RNC total was more than what a joint Democratic fund had raised in April and May combined.

“This means their gap is getting wider, and if it continues at this pace, it could cost us the election,” campaign manager Jim Messina warned email recipients.

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