Senate Democrats, facing an uphill battle to keep control of the upper chamber, have a key fundraising advantage over the GOP.
Three government contractors have filed a complaint against the Federal Election Commission (FEC) arguing a federal law that bars them from donating to political candidates is unconstitutional.
The statute, Section 441c(a), prohibits corporations and individuals who have a contract with the federal government from donating “to any political party, committee, or candidate for public office or to any person for any political purpose or use,” the complaint said.
The contractors Wendy Wagner, Lawrence Brown and Jan Miller claim the statute is a violation of their First and Fifth Amendment rights and want to have the ban enjoined against them so that they can donate freely to candidates.
“Because the ban on contributions in section 441c… is not supported by any legitimate interest, let alone a compelling one, and because the ban is not narrowly tailored to support whatever interest might support a ban, the ban violates the First Amendment rights of plaintiffs,” attorneys Alan B. Morrison and Arthur Spitzer wrote in the complaint.
The Democratic campaign committees in both the House and Senate are leading in fundraising for the year.
The GOP field's second-tier presidential candidates didn't raise enough money in the third quarter to keep up with the front-runners.
Herman Cain lags the other top-tier presidential candidates with $2.6 million in the third quarter.
President Obama released the list of the bundlers who raised major dollars for his reelection campaign.
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) raised slightly more than $1.2 million in the third quarter of 2011 and now has $3.7 million on hand heading into her tough reelection battle.
The figures show that McCaskill continues to be a solid fundraiser, but it remains unclear whether it will be enough to defeat her eventual Republican opponent. The candidates in the GOP primary have yet to announce their numbers.
A moderate Democrat in a state where Obama is highly unpopular, McCaskill is considered one of the most vulnerable senators up for reelection in 2012, but has the support of national Democratic groups. She edged out a Republican incumbent in 2006 to win her first term in the Senate.
As fundraising numbers start pouring in, here are some key candidates who are keeping tight-lipped about their dollars.
The Republican National Committee raised $9.3 million in September, surpassing their August numbers by more than a million and marking two months in a row that the committee has set a record for monthly fundraising in an off year.
Those donations allowed the RNC to bring its debt down to under $15 million. Republicans were also able to elevate their cash in the bank to more than $11 million.
Republicans have had better fundraising success in recent months, but were saddled with larger debt and less cash on hand. RNC officials said the group has slimmed down operating costs while boosting fundraising operations under Chairman Reince Priebus, who took over in January.
The Democratic National Committee hasn't released its September totals yet, but raised $5.5 million in August and had raised almost $120 million during all of 2011, when added to the funds President Obama has raised for his reelection.
Sen. Bill Nelson (D), fighting a tough reelection battle in Florida, raised almost $2 million in the third quarter of 2011, while two Democrats vying to take on Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) each raised about one-third of a million dollars, Democrats said Tuesday.