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Prolific Fund-Raiser Michele Bachmann Enters Republican Presidential Fray

Center for Responsive Politics, Frank Wolf, MICHELE PAC, Michele Bachmann, Mitt Romney, OpenSecrets Blog, OpenSecrets.org, Tea Party, Tim Pawlenty, Zachary Newkirk, World , world news, world business news, world news today, world headlines, world news headlines, current world news, world news online

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) announced tonight that she has filed paperwork to become a presidential candidate and will formally announce her intentions "very soon."

Bachmann did so at a Republican presidential candidate debate in New Hampshire -- an appropriate venue in that she was the only candidate on stage who hadn't officially announced her presidential aspirations.

“We cannot risk giving President Obama four more years to dismantle our nation. We must act now,” Bachmann said in a fund-raising letter sent within an hour of her entrance, the Associated Press reported. “That’s why I’ve made the decision to get in this race.”

A strong supporter of the Tea Party movement, Bachmann founded and currently serves as the chair of the new Tea Party Caucus in the House of Representatives.

She is also a prolific actor in the world of money in politics.

Bachmann raised the most money during the 2010 election cycle, outpacing 434 of her House colleagues, as OpenSecrets Blog has previously noted. Her dominant $13.5 million haul was much more than House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who was a distant second with nearly $9.8 million in fundraising.

She still has more than $1.8 million cash on hand, according to Center for Responsive Politics research. And in recent weeks, she's been hitting up supporters for more cash, using a decidedly anti-Barack Obama tone in doing so.

Bachmann's 2010 fund-raising total was a dramatic increase from the $3.5 million she raised during the 2010 election cycle. The $10 million increase across only two years occurred simultaneously with her increasing national profile.

According to Center research, Bachmann is a favorite for some industries, meaning she was received the most money out of any member of the House from the particular industry. The gun rights special interest area, for example, contributed more than $32,000 to Bachmann, more than any other candidate in this realm. She is also the favorite of special interest groups that oppose abortion rights, garnering nearly $44,000 from them.

Among Republican and conservative ideological groups, Bachmann is far and away the top House recipient of their money during the 2010 election cycle. She received a remarkable $513,000 from these groups, more than $160,000 more than the next top recipient, Rep. Allan West (R-Fla.), who received nearly $350,000. House Speaker Boehner received only $219,000 from these groups.

Like many other politicos, Bachmann runs a leadership political action committee. MICHELE PAC raised more than $637,000 during the 2010 election cycle. During the early part of this year, MICHELE PAC has increased its cash stocks significantly.

MICHELE PAC's totals, however, pale in comparison to other Republican rivals. For example, former Republican Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney's Free and Strong America PAC raised more than $9.1 million while the leadership PAC of ex-Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), America's Foundation, raised $2.8 million during the 2010 election cycle.

This has not stopped Bachmann's leadership PAC from contributing to a large amount of candidates. The PAC's top four recipients are fellow Minnesotan politicians, including Rep. Chip Cravaack (R-Minn.), who unseated longtime Rep. Jim Oberstar (D-Minn.). Cravaack received $3,400 from MICHELE PAC.

The PAC contributed $59,000 to House Republican candidates and $6,000 from Republican Senate candidates during the 2010 election cycle. Notably, the PAC contributed $1,000 to Democrat Dennis Findley, who ran in the Democratic primary in Virginia's 10th District currently held by longtime Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.).

Bachmann is the second Minnesotan to declare her intention to challenge Obama in 2012. Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty announced his intention to explore a presidential bid in March, and he formalized his campaign in May.

The outspoken three-term congresswoman first made presidential waves at a speech on March 26 at the Conservatives Principles Political Action Committee Conference in Des Moines, Iowa. She fired up the conservative audience by ending her speech with "I'm in! You're in, we're going to take this country back in 2012."

Be sure to check out the OpenSecrets.org database of all of the potential 2012 presidential candidates for more information.

Read more at:http://www.opensecrets.org/news/2011/06/prolific-fund-raiser-michele-bachma.html

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