Mitt Romney has not yet declared himself a candidate for the 2012 Presidential race, which means he is able to skirt federal campaign finance law.
Politico looks at how Romney has been able to keep his 2008 campaign organization in place through creative, yet completely legal means.
Here’s how Romney’s complex political network operates:
To keep his presence high and key campaign staff on the payroll after the 2008 presidential campaign, Romney re-named his Commonwealth PAC, a federal political action committee, and its five, corresponding state-based committees the Free and Strong America PACs.
The state committees are located mostly in early primary states — Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Michigan and Alabama — and each operates under different contribution rules established by local statute. That means Romney can collect corporate checks in Alabama, unlimited donations from individual backers in Iowa and regulated donations in South Carolina and New Hampshire.
The arrangement provides Romney’s most loyal and generous backers with multiple opportunities to grease the gears of his political machine.
Politico reports that Romney’s state committees raised more than $486,000 from January 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010. That money came from just 24 individuals.
That money allows Romney to write big checks to individual candidates and state Republican parties.
According to disclosure reports, Romney already has contributed more than $500,000 to candidates, party committees and conservative caucuses. The federal Free and Strong America PAC has made more than $418,000 in donations, while the state PACs have contributed a combined total of $111,050.
But the vast majority of the money raised by Romney’s five state committees, which exceeds $480,000, is actually spent to support the Boston-based operation of the federal PAC — and home of Romney’s campaign apparatus.
The moment Romney files as a candidate for president, he must begin abiding by federal rules.