Super donors provide bulk of money to super PACs


Super PACs have broken the $200 million mark in donations and $100 million in spending, with much of the money coming from a few donors with deep pockets whose largesse has changed the dynamics of political campaigning.

Some of the big players in the current cycle, many of whom have been big donors for decades, made their first super PAC contributions to support one of the major presidential candidates, then shifted focus to Congressional contests, with some pledging millions for tight races.

Harold Simmons, a major contributor to conservative super PACs, has been in the spotlight for his $13.5 million in donations to super PACs this cycle, but he and his family have been prolific donors over the years, contributing at least $34.8 million to campaigns, parties and political organizations. Jerry Perenchio, a right leaning donor who's also supported some Democrats, has contributed more than $50 million in the past few decades–through a trust, he's given $2 million to super PACs.

Both of these major donors have kept a low profile compared to political power couple Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, who have publicly pledged to donate more than $100 million by November to elect Republicans. Adelson and his Las Vegas Sands have numerous issues before the federal government. 

About 37 percent of super PAC contributions so far has come from these wealthy few. Here’s a quick look at the top individual contributors and corporate contributors to super PACs this cycle.

Rank Top individual donors Amount
1 Miriam Adelson $15,000,000
2 Harold Simmons $13,500,000
3 Sheldon Adelson $10,000,000
4 Bob Perry $7,350,000
5 Peter Thiel $2,735,000
6 Foster Friess $2,250,000
6 William Dore $2,250,000
7 Jon Huntsman $2,222,039
8 Kenneth Griffin $2,050,000
9 Amy Goldman $2,000,000
9 Jeffrey Katzenberg $2,000,000
10 James Simons $1,500,000


Rank Top Corporate donors Amount
1 National Education Association $3,579,150
2 Contran Corporation $3,000,000
3 Cooperative of American Physicians $2,555,727
4 AFL-CIO $2,206,370
5 Jerry Perenchio Living Trust $2,000,000
6 Freedomworks $1,633,177
7 SEIU COPE $1,275,000
8 Communications Workers of America $1,162,971
9 TRT Holdings $1,000,000
9 Unite Here Tip State & Local Fund $1,000,000
9 Rooney Holdings, Inc. $1,000,000
9 Eli Publishing Inc $1,000,000
9 National Air Traffic Controllers Association PAC $1,000,000
9 F8 LLC $1,000,000
9 Whiteco Industries, Inc. $1,000,000
9 Huron Carbon LLC $1,000,000
10 Oxbow Carbon, LLC $750,000