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Alan Grayson, a Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives representing central Florida, is a prolific fundraiser. He recently trumpeted his success in an e-mail to supporters on April 26, 2010. Grayson wrote: "Our Grayson for Congress campaign raised over $800,000 last quarter, from almost 25,000 contributors. That was #1 among all 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives."
We're always curious when we hear someone claim to be No. 1 in anything, so we looked into it.
The Grayson campaign was slow in getting back to us with data to back up the claim, so we examined at Grayson's report on the Federal Election Commission website for the most recent quarter that ended March 31, 2010. We found he raised $809,111.83 in net contributions.
We went to the Center for Responsive Politics site OpenSecrets.org and looked at a chart of the top 10 fundraisers for this current election cycle for candidates for the House of Representatives. On that list, Grayson is No. 6. We ran those 10 names -- which include eight incumbents and two other candidates -- through the FEC database to examine reports for the most recent fundraising quarter. The result: Grayson was third behind two Republican members of the House -- Eric Cantor of Virginia at $831,851.79 and Michele Bachmann of Minnesota at $810,991.74.
The Federal Election Commission sent us a list of the top 10 fundraisers among candidates in the House for the most recent quarter. For incumbents, Grayson came in third behind Cantor and Bachmann.
We showed the figures we found for Cantor and Bachmann to Grayson's office and asked how the campaign concluded that he was No. 1. Julie Tagen, senior advisor to the campaign, then acknowledged to us an in an e-mail that he was "not number one last quarter.''
But she added that, "Although we were not number one last quarter, we are number one in the past two quarters combined," wrote Julie Tagen, senior advisor to the campaign. "We were among the top fundraisers, and no campaign claims to have more donors than us. That makes us number one in the context of what we were discussing."
We don't believe there is sufficient public data for a campaign to prove her latest claim. Comparing the number of donors is a difficult task -- in part because donors who give less than $200 don't have to be reported. That would require calling all of the members of the House and asking for their donor lists -- something they would be hesitant to provide. We doubt the Grayson campaign had time to do that.
But back to the claim we're checking: Grayson said in an e-mail to his supporters that he was "#1 among all 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives."
We proved he was wrong because at least two others raised more, and his campaign has acknowledged the claim is not accurate. We find it False.
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