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Nikki Haley’s campaign overstated initial fundraising haul

<i>Meg Kinnard/AP</i><br/>Nikki Haley speaks at a campaign rally in Gilbert
Meg Kinnard/AP
Nikki Haley speaks at a campaign rally in Gilbert

By Fredreka Schouten, David Wright and Kylie Atwood, CNN

Republican presidential hopeful Nikki Haley‘s campaign publicized earlier this month what it boasted as a strong haul for her 2024 bid: The former South Carolina governor had raised “more than $11 million in just six weeks,” according to a campaign release.

But official filings with the Federal Election Commission on Saturday night show the campaign appears to have double-counted money routed among Haley’s fundraising committees, overstating the topline figure.

Instead, the three committees connected to Haley raised a total of $8.3 million — still a sizable showing for a first-time presidential candidate but not the figure publicly touted by the former United Nations ambassador’s campaign.

Fundraising serves as one benchmark of support for a campaign, and candidates are often eager to tout big numbers in advance of their official filings with federal regulators. In announcing the overstated $11 million haul, campaign manager Betsy Ankney said Haley’s “massive fundraising and active retail campaigning in early voting states makes her a force to be reckoned with.”

In an email Sunday, Haley campaign spokesman Ken Farnaso defended the $11 million figure, saying their accounting mirrored how other candidates have previously described their fundraising.

Haley has three aligned committees: Her main campaign committee, a leadership PAC and a joint fundraising committee that funnels money to the other two committees.

The campaign summed the total receipts for each committee to arrive at the $11 million figure. But, in doing so, it double-counted $2.7 million that first landed in the joint fundraising committee and then was parceled out to the campaign committee and the leadership PAC.

Other candidates have sought to present their campaign filings in the most favorable light. The campaign of former President Donald Trump, for instance, touted a $9.5 million haul during the first six weeks of his campaign. But, in that window, only about $5 million flowed into the joint fundraising committee that powers his political operation.

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