Wealthy two dozen: 24 super PACs that got the most last-minute money
Twenty-four super PACs collected more than $1 million in contributions during the final weeks before the election, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission. The sources for the funding went undisclosed until yesterday, when all committees active in the 2012 campaign had to file post-election reports with the FEC.
The latest filings cover the period between Oct. 18 and Nov. 26, and reveal the names of groups and individuals that made 11th-hour donations to influence the election. All told, super PACs, which can legally raise money in unlimited amounts, received $167.1 million during the period, most of it in the final 19 days before Election Day and most of it concentrated in the hands of just a handful of groups. The top four super PACs accounted for half of the total.
American Crossroads, the super PAC run by GOP strategist Karl Rove, made $37.3 million after Oct. 17, mostly from political power couple Sheldon and Miriam Adelson. Together, the political power couple donated $23 million in the final days before the election — $20 million in a single day.
The Adelsons also donated $16.6 million to other super PACs, including Independence Virginia PAC, Hardworking Americans Committee, and the pro-Romney super PAC, Restore Our Future.
Restore Our Future raised $22.1 million in the closing weeks of the campaign. Almost half of the total came from the Adelsons, but there were other big donors: Billionaire software giant Larry Ellison of the Oracle Corporation, gave a last-minute $3 million to the group, and Robert McNair, chairman and CEO of the Houston Texans, gave $1 million.
Priorities USA Action, the pro-Obama super PAC, didn't have as many big contributors but had three times as many contributions as Restore. Priorities collected$15 million between Oct. 18 and Nov. 26. The largest donations came from James Simons and Henry Laufer of hedge fund management company Renaissance Technologies Corp., though Laufer retired in 2009. Each gave $1.5 million.
FSA PAC, a super PAC affiliated with the Fair Shair Alliance, took in a whopping $4.3 million in the days leading up to the election. While the sum is small compared to some other top groups, the amount represents 80 percent of total fundraising for the group, which gets much of its funding from the Environment America Action Fund. During the general election, FSA PAC backed mostly Democratic candidates up and down the ballot.
Here's a list of super PACs that collected the most during the closing weeks of the campaign: