GOP stockpiles $21M for eventual nominee

The winner of the Republican presidential primary will have more than $20 million waiting for him once he clinches the nomination.

The Republican National Committee said Thursday that it has fully funded its Presidential Trust, a fund that the GOP can use to coordinate directly with its nominee. Federal Election Commission rules for 2012 set the cap for that fund at $21.6 million.

The full kitty may be a sigh of relief to the GOP candidates, who are likely to have drained most of their own resources by the time one of them locks up the nomination. Already the campaigns are showing signs of financial stress, with many big-dollar donors maxed out for the primary.

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Democrats, meanwhile, have been hoarding cash. Obama's campaign has almost $85 million on hand as of the end of December — not to mention what the Democratic National Committee has raised to help reelect Obama.

The RNC has about $30 million on hand, an official said, and will continue raising funds above and beyond the $21.6 million it can coordinate with the nominee's campaign. Those funds will be used for party's efforts on the ground.

"With a fully-funded trust, we stand ready on day one once we have a presumptive nominee," said RNC Chairman Reince Priebus.

Republicans in September tapped House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to serve as chairman of the trust. The announcement that the fund had been filled came the same day Ryan's budget plan passed through the GOP-controlled House.