GOP Hopefuls Jockey for Donors

The Republican Party's 2012 hopefuls haven't announced their presidential bids yet, but that's not stopping them from skirting federal campaign-finance laws. Both former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty have set up networks of state political-action committees, which are not bound by the same limits as federal PACs, for deep-pocket donors to begin seeding their campaigns. Donations to federal PACs are capped at $5,000, but Romney's state-level PACs raked in $100,000 each from several major donors, and Pawlenty took $60,000 from a Texas home builder. Other possible contenders, including Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, North Dakota Sen. John Thune, and Newt Gingrich have not made announcements, but have been holding numerous events with major fundraisers. (Sarah Palin's SarahPAC has pulled in nearly as much cash as Romney's, but mostly from small donations.) But none of the likely contenders have been as aggressive as Romney, who is already pushing top donors for commitments, should he decide to run, and hosting large gatherings at his Massachusetts home.