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President-elect Barack Obama brought in nearly $750 million for his presidential campaign, a record amount that exceeds what all of the candidates combined collected in private donations in the previous race for the White House, according to a report filed Thursday with the Federal Election Commission.

Underscoring the success of his fund-raising, Mr. Obama reported that he had nearly $30 million in the bank as of Nov. 24, despite spending furiously at the end of his campaign.

Mr. Obama, who became the first major-party nominee to bypass public financing since the system began in the 1970s, spent more than $136 million from Oct. 16 to Nov. 24, the period covered in the report. By comparison, his Republican opponent, Senator John McCain, who was limited to the $84 million allotted to him from the Treasury under public financing, spent $26.5 million during that time, according to his latest campaign finance report. Although Mr. McCain had $4 million left over, he had $4.9 million in debt, the report said.

Mr. Obama reported taking in $104 million in contributions. Assuming most of that money came in before Election Day, Nov. 4, it appears his fund-raising stepped up significantly as the campaign drew to a close. In the first half of October, he raised just $36 million.

An exact figure is difficult to calculate because of vagaries in the way fund-raising numbers are reported. But it appears that Mr. Obama raised over $300 million for the general election alone — more than triple what Mr. McCain had at his disposal from public financing.

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Those waiting for a peek at Governor Sarah Palin’s personal finances are going to have to wait just a bit longer, under an agreement between the Federal Election Commission and the McCain campaign.

Federal election law requires the vice presidential candidate to file a personal financial disclosure statement within 30 days of their nomination. But, there seemed to be some confusion between the F.E.C. and the McCain campaign over the exact date of her nomination.

The McCain campaign has said that it believes the 30-day deadline ends on Oct. 3, 30 days after her Sept. 4th nomination at the Republican National Convention. The F.E.C. had said that the 30-day period began on August 29th, when Senator John McCain named her as his running mate and changed the name of his campaign fund to the McCain-Palin Compliance Fund. By the F.E.C.’s calculations, the filing was due on Monday, Sept. 29.

So, letters between the campaign and the F.E.C. ensued. Trevor Potter, the McCain campaign’s general counsel, also said that Mrs. Palin needed extra time to prepare since she had never done this before.

“Because Governor Palin has not previously run for federal office, it is clear to us that additional time is required to compile and prepare Govenor Palin’s financial information. As you are well aware, the Executive Branch financial disclosure form is vastly more complex than most state disclosure forms, and requires the assemblage of a quantity and a level of detail far beyond that reported previously by the Governor in Alaska and therefore readily available,’’ said Mr. Potter in his letter.

The F.E.C, in a letter to Mr. Potter, granted an extension until 30-days prior to the general election, or Oct. 5. Since that is a Sunday, the F.E.C. said the campaign would have until Oct. 6 to comply – but that no extension would be granted beyond that date.

Source: NYT