As few as four dozen donors and families could sway the election this fall. Who are these people? They’re the ones who have given at least $1 million to a super PAC thus far.
So far, $308 million has been raised by super PACs in this election cycle. Of that money, $130 million comes from donors giving $1 million or more, which is about 40% of the total given. This is even more pronounced on the GOP side, where nearly half of the $228 million raised by Republican-affiliated super PACs has come from $1 million-plus donations.
Who are the most generous givers right now? It probably comes as no surprise, given the way Barack Obama’s super PAC has lagged behind Mitt Romney’s, that they are all Republican supporters. Currently leading the way are Sheldon and Miriam Adelson of the Las Vegas Sands Corp. (NYSE:LVS) with a $34.75 million donation, Contran Corporation’s Harold and Annette Simmons with a $17.2 million donation from them and Contran, Houston home builder Bob Perry with a $10.35 million donation, and PayPal (now an eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) subsidiary) co-founder Peter Thiel with a $3.6 million donation.
In fact, the largest Democratic super PAC donor now is Chicago newspaper and radio station owner Fred Eychaner, who has given a relatively paltry $2.65 million. Also giving $2 million or more are writer and philanthropist Amy Goldman ($2.25 million), Dreamworks chief executive and co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg ($2 million), and hedge fund manager James Simons ($2 million).
So if you’re wondering why Romney’s super PAC has been outgunning Obama’s so far, the fact that just two of the top 13 super PAC donors are Democrats is a pretty good clue.
— Benjamin Nanamaker, InvestorPlace Money & Politics Editor
The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.
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