Big bucks propel super PACs’ sprint to the finish


Billionaire casino-owner Sheldon Adelson and his wife have poured more than $12.5 million into super PACs' coffers in just the first two and a half weeks of October, new campaign finance filings show. The biggest chunk is $10 million to Restore Our Future, which backs Romney; yesterday we reported on the couples' $2.5 million to the Ending Spending Action Fund, and Independence Virginia.

Besides the Adelsons, Restore Our Future also got several other million dollar gifts:

  • Harold C. Simmons, owner of Contran Corp.
  • Julian Robertson, Investment Manager at Tiger Management, LLC
  • Jerry Perenchio Chartwell Partners LLC
  • Edward St. John, Chairman of St. John Properties

Crossroads GPS, the super PAC run by Karl Rove, raised $11.6 million from Oct. 1 to Oct. 17, with a few notable contributions:

  • $4 million from Harold C. Simmons, owner of Contran Corp. That brings Simmons' giving to American Crossroads to $12 million this cycle.
  • $1 million from Bob Perry, president of Perry Homes. He's given the super PAC $5 million to date.
  • $1 million from T. Boone Pickens, CEO of BP Capital.

Freedomworks for America, a Tea Party-allied super PAC, got a total of $5.275 million in October from "Specialty Group Inc." a business listed in Knoxville, Tennessee that incorporated on Sept. 26, according to state corporation records.  Those filings list William S. Rose Jr. as the groups registered agent. The address listed in the filings, 12678 Amberset Drive, is a single-family home also owned by Rose, according to local property records.

A $1 million contribution from philanthropist George Soros helped fuel a fundraising blitz that saw the super PAC supporting President Barack Obama raise $13 million in the first 17 days of this month, a report filed Thursday with the Federal Election Commission shows.

Soros was one of six million-dollar donors to Priorities USA, founded by several former Obama aides to help the president win reelection. Up until recently, the left-leaning millionaire has seemed reluctant to give to the super PAC, a vehicle for fundraising that the president initially deplored but then embraced after it became clear that he risked being swamped by Republican groups that take unlimited donations.

Other seven-figure check writers for Priorities:

  • Mark Pincus of the online gaming company Zynga
  • Alida Rockefeller Messinger, a sister of Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va. and former wife of Minnesota's Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton
  • Vinod Khosla, a venture capitalist and co-founder of Sun Microsystems
  • Reid Garrett Hoffman, cofounder of the social networking giant Linked In
  • Sidney Kimmel, chairman of Jones Apparel Group.

The Pincus donation sticks out: this week, he let his employees know he was laying 5 percent of them off–about 150 people

Other big donations reported Thursday included a $1.1 million contribution from Charlie Munger, a business partner of legendary Nebraska investor Warren Buffett. Munger made his donation to Spirit of America, a super PAC that's backing centrist Republican candidates in California House races–in one race spending more than both candidates combined.

Rosemary Pritzker launched a super PAC in October, Local Voices, and provided it with $350,000 of her own money. Pritzker wrote a tribute to Van Jones, an environmentalist and green jobs advocate who briefly served in the Obama administration as an advisor to the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Jones resigned after conservatives, including Republicans in Congress, criticized his signing of a petition in 2004 claiming that the administration of President George W. Bush had been forewarned of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York. Local Voices is supporting Obama's reelection. Sunlight is trying to confirm whether its founder is related to Penny Pritzker, a member of the family that owns Hyatt Hotels and a close Obama adviser. 

YG Action Fund, a super PAC launched by aides to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, a fundraising machine for Republicans, raised a paltry $12,205 in the first half of October.

Californians for a Stronger America, which lists a Broadway, New York address on its disclosures, got $12,500 from Jacqueline Autry, widow of Gene Autry, the singing cowboy turned California Angels owner. The group has spent a total of $100,000 so far opposing Raul Ruiz, the Democrat running against Rep. Mary Bono Mack.

Another PAC active in California races, the Jobs Opportunity and Freedom Political Action Committee, got $10,000 from Occidental Petroleum. The group is helping Republican House candidates in the Golden State.

(Contributing: Anupama Narayanswamy, Jacob Fenton, Kathy Kiely, Bill Allison).