Romney Raises Just Under $3 Million

Mitt Romney had a pretty good year in 2010, when it comes to political money: his political organization, the Free and Strong America PAC, raised just over $2.9 million in 2009, the PAC announced today. Along with that haul, it doled out a total of over $120,000 to candidates and causes. (That total looks miniscule compared to the money taken in, but keep in mind that 2009 was an off year, and it's just now time to start thinking about serious 2010 spending.)

It's unclear how this will compare to the political action committees of the other Big Three Republican 2012 contenders--Sarah Palin's SarahPAC and Mike Huckabee's HuckPAC--but, at the midway point of 2009, Romney's PAC had led them substantially.

In their last Federal Election Commission disclosure reports, counting donations through June 30, 2009, Romney's PAC led with $1.9 million raised in the first half of the year. Palin's PAC had raised over $730,000, while Huckabee's PAC had raised over $300,000.

The year-end filing deadline is this Sunday, at 11:59 p.m. Eastern, so we should know soon how much Palin and Huckabee's organizations raked in.

[UPDATE: Tim Pawlenty's Freedom First PAC raised $1.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2009, according to an official with the organization.]

If those three want to use their PAC money to support their own presidential campaigns in 2012, they'll only be able to contribute $5,000 from the PACs to their campaigns for the primary, and another $5,000 for the general election (if one of them wins the nomination). But the PACs can spend unlimited amounts on their own to support a candidate--so, theoretically, that money could be just as good as a campaign war chest, though it would have to be used via independent expenditures.