We’re keeping an eye on the second-quarter filings due tonight at midnight at the Federal Election Commission. Here’s what’s we’ve seen thus far.
Closing the gender gap, one million dollars at a time
Carly Fiorina’s new super PAC reported raising reported raising just over one million dollars in it’s first filing. Unlocking Potential, a super PAC started in June, reported raising $1.1 million through the end of the month, including a million from Mike and Sydney Murphy of El Dorado Arkansas. Mike Murphy is the son of Charles Murphy Jr., who was CEO of Murphy Oil until the mid 1980’s, and the grandson of company founder Charles Murphy Sr. The company now describes itself as “a worldwide oil and gas exploration and production company with retail and wholesale gasoline marketing operations in the United States and refining and marketing operations in the United Kingdom.” It’s currently valued at $11.7 billion.
Michael Murphy lists his employer on filings as “Marmik Oil Company”. Charles Jones, a managing partner at Bedford Funding Capital Management, also gave $100,000 to the PAC.
The Unlocking Potential Project will be headed by former Hewlett-Packard CEO Fiorina, who’s now chairwoman of the American Conservative Union Foundation. According to the group’s website, the project plans “to engage women with new messages and new messengers by focusing on personal interactions with voters and going beyond the traditional methods of identifying, persuading and turning-out voters.”
Bolton bringing in the bucks
The John Bolton super PAC, associated with the mustachioed, recess-appointed UN Ambassador from the tail-end of the Bush Administration, raised $1.7 million in the quarter, pushing its total receipts for the cycle to $3 million. Among the big donors were Robert Mercer of the hedge fund Renaissance Technologies, who gave $1 million, Cherna Moskowitz, whose husband Irving founded a pro-Israel foundation ($250,000) and Sam Fox of the Harbour Group, a firm that specializes in leveraged buyouts. Like Bolton, Fox was nominated by President George W. Bush to a diplomatic post — ambassador to Belgium — and like Bolton, was installed in the post thanks to a recess appointment. Sen. John Kerry chaired the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which would have had to approve Fox, who was a large donor to the Swift Boat Vets for Truth, the group that ran ads attacking Kerry’s record in Vietnam in the 2004 presidential election.
Bolton also has a traditional PAC, called the John Bolton PAC. It raised $622,000 in the quarter and $1.2 million overall. Among the donors were tycoon Ira Rennert and his wife Ingeborg ($5,000 each). Rennert has been involved in a long running dispute with the government of Peru regarding smelting operations in the town of La Oroya, once called one of the ten most polluted places on earth.
Lining up candidates across the Midwest
Another new super PAC, Our America Fund reported $500,000 in its first quarterly report — all of it from Richard Uihlein, CEO of shipping-materials supplier Uline Corp. That super PAC is just one of several that appear to be funded almost entirely by Uihlein, who’s given at least $3.6 million to super PACs since the start of 2013.
A similarly-named political committee, America’s PAC got $450,000 of the $470,000 it’s raised in 2013 and 2014 from Uihlein. The super PAC has opposed Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, D, and backed Steve Dane, a Republican candidate for U.S. house in Oklahoma’s 5th District
Uihlein, of Lake Forest, Illinois, was also the main funder of Liberty Principles PAC, giving $1.7 of $1.8 million raised this cycle. The PAC transferred nearly all of it’s money to an Illinois state PAC in February.
Same names, different PAC
The USA Super PAC, which had not raised a dime since November of 2012, lurched back to life, pooling $500,000 from a handful of donors to pay for radio ads supporting Nebraska gubernatorial candidate Pete Ricketts, R.
Ricketts, who is the son of TD Ameritrade founder and super PAC mega donor Joe Ricketts, won the Republican nomination for governor of Nebraska in May after an eight year hiatus from his last bid for public office. The candidate told the Omaha World Herald that he learned his lesson from his unsuccessful 2006 Senate bid and would spend less of his own money on the race and “surround himself with Nebraskans.”
None of the donors behind USA Super PAC, an independent committee, hail from Nebraska, according to USA super PAC’s disclosure form. More recently, three of the same funders behind USA Super PAC each gave $100,000 checks to the equally bland-sounding New York 2014.
The bulk of the money for both committees came from three executives from the financial sector:
- Paul Singer , CEO of Elliot Management
- Kenneth Griffin, CEO of Citadel LLC
- Robert Mercer, Financial consultant at Renaissance Technologies
As Sunlight reported in June, New York 2014 supporting former Bush White House Aide Elise Stefanik who ultimately won the Republican primary in New York’s 21st District over repeat candidate George Doheny.
New name in West Virginia
Elsewhere on the electoral landscape, a new super PAC in West Virginia — Honest West Virginians — sprang to life with a $250,000 contribution from a West Virginia construction workers union affiliated with the AFL-CIO.
The group has yet to engage in any elections-related activity, according to its disclosure, but the Mountain State is home to a competitive Senate race where Secretary of State Natalie Tennant will try to keep retiring Sen. John Rockefeller’s seat in Democratic hands. Tennant will face an uphill battle against Republican Rep. Shelley Moore Capito in an increasingly conservative state.
The US Chamber of Commerce has already spent $200,000 on the race in support of Capito.