President Obama has headlined 127 fundraising events for himself and others, significantly outpacing the fundraising activity of the previous five presidents during their first terms, new research obtained by USA TODAY shows.
By comparison, President George W. Bush had held 88 fundraisers and President Clinton, 76, at this point in their first terms, according to data compiled by Brendan Doherty, an assistant professor of politicial science at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. Doherty, who also studies presidential activity with the non-partisan White House Transition Project, examined fundraising going back to President Carter.
The upswing reflects the soaring costs of campaigns and politicians’ abandonment of the presidential public-financing system that limits what candidates can raise from private sources in exchange for receiving taxpayer money, Doherty and other experts say.
“We have entered the era of the permanent campaign,” said Anthony Corrado, a campaign-finance expert at Colby College in Waterville, Maine. “This is a reflection … of the enormous sums that are anticipated for the election.”