Koch brother among donors to Mark Sanford redemption run


Updated 1:44 p.m. 3/8

David Koch, one of the nation's most generous underwriters of conservative causes, is among more than 250 donors chipping in to help disgraced former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford get his political career on track. So is Foster Friess, a conservative millionaire who bet heavily last year on former Sen. Rick Santorum's failed bid for the Republican nomination and made headlines with his unorthodox views on contraception.

Both gave $2,500 each to Sanford's campaign to win back the House seat that that he held in the 1990s, according to a campaign finance report filed in advance of the March 19 primary. South Carolina is holding a special election to fill a vacancy created when Republican Rep. Tim Scott was appointed to the Senate earlier this year. Sunlight received the report at 1:10 a.m. through our public alert service, available at Follow the Unlimited Money and powered by Scout.

Sanford's report shows that despite his public humiliation over an ill-concealed extra-marital affair, the Palmetto State Republican still has supporters. He collected more than $300,000 in contributions, most of them from South Carolina. But Sanford, a fiscal conservative who once was considered a potential presidential candidate, also drew from out-of-state investors. Among them: Billionaire investor Richard Chilton and GOP mega-fundraiser Fred Malek, each of whom gave $2,500. Thomas Ravenel, another former South Carolina GOP pol whose public career blew up in a scandal, gave $500.

One of Sanford's competitors in the Republican primary, Teddy Turner, is relying on personal wealth and powerful family connections to help finance his campaign. Turner, a high school teacher who is also the son of Turner Broadcasting and CNN founder Ted Turner, has underwritten his campaign to the tune of $317,000, accounting for most of the $453,655 his campaign has received. Although the younger Turner has distanced himself from his liberal dad at every turn on the campaign trail, the proud poppa has given his candidate-son $7,800, the maximum allowed.

Turner also got at least one contribution from a prominent Democrat: former Georgia Sen. Sam Nunn, who now heads a think tank dedicated to reducing nuclear weapons, gave $500.

The Democratic frontrunner, Elizabeth Colbert Busch, raised about $310,000 in the reporting period, and received a bit of the 'Colbert bump' from her younger brother, comedian Stephen Colbert. Even though Stephen did not contribute directly to her campaign, his wife Evelyn McGee Colbert donated $5,100 and his lawyer Trevor Potter, a former chairman of the Federal Election Commission, chipped in $500. He also hosted several fundraisers for his sister. 

Colbert Busch also loaned her campaign $9,000. The Clemson University business executive, who is one of eight siblings, also got help from others sharing her last name, including $2,500 a piece from lnternational Monetary Fund consultant Kathleen Carol Colbert and Washington, D.C. lawyer Edward T. Colbert and $1,000 from California attorney James Colbert. The liberal fundraising website ActBlue also aggregated $33,545 for Colbert Busch's campaign.


Keenan Steiner contributed reporting