Liberal super PAC donors gearing up; Bankers and teachers groups lurch to life

Tom steyer in green suit speaking in front of blue background.
Tom Steyer speaking before the California Democratic convention in March. Steyer has given more than $30 million to super PACs in the 2014 cycle. Image credit: California Democratic Party, YouTube

Fundraising is gearing up as summer draws to close and left-leaning megadonors are doubling down on their super PAC investments. That’s the main takeaway from the newest trove of campaign documents submitted to the Federal Election Commission (FEC). Wednesday at midnight was a filing deadline for committees that file on a monthly schedule (party committees, candidates’ campaigns and some super PACs) and we’re picking through the new documents to bring you some interesting nuggets out of the new campaign data.

The top 20 committees by total raised are below;  you can track all the filings made to the FEC on Real-Time.

And, see July’s biggest spenders below:


Sunlight reported on the super PAC investments of Michael Bloomberg and Tom Steyer in July, both of whom are spending millions trying to shape the political discourse in the midterm elections. Each has launched his own super PAC — Steyer has NextGen Action while Bloomberg launched Independence USA — but the most recent data suggests the former New York City Mayor willing to spread the love, doling out millions to other committees working to elect Democrats.

As of publication Bloomberg had accounted for over $11.4 million in super PAC donations, including a $2 million donation to the super PAC arm of Emily’s List in July.

That pales in comparison to the more than $30 million that Steyer, a hedge fund manager, has given. Most of this money has gone to his own PACs, which are fighting to make climate change a salient issue in the midterm elections. The California native has also contributed to the Democrat-aligned Senate Majority PAC, to the tune of $5 million. He gave another $7 million to NextGen Climate Action Committee in July.

The climate super PAC has been aggressive so far, attacking Republican candidates for ties to the oil industry, support for fracking and, in Iowa, waffling on the Renewable Fuel Standard.

Special interests’ fundraising machines’ lurching to life

While multimillion dollar checks can infuse instant life into a political committee, interest groups with well established networks of low-dollar donors are also kickstarting their fundraising as November elections approach.

The National Education Association — the national teachers’ union — had its largest fundraising haul of the year at over $1 million, pulling in droves of small contributions from its members.

Likewise, the American Bankers’ Association’s “BANKPAC” upped its fundraising game in July, collecting more than $800,000 from its state affiliates. That’s compared to $165,000 the committee raised in June. The bankers’ advocacy group doles out hard money contributions to federal candidates on both sides of the aisle.

Sweating over Alaska

If you want to see where an organization’s political ambitions lie, the old Washington adage tells us to follow the money. A quick look Senate Majority PAC’s spending shows that the powerhouse Democratic super PAC is hell-bent on keeping Mark Begich, D-Alaska, in the U.S. Senate.

Senate Majority is propping up another super PAC, Put Alaska First, which is running ads touting Begich and attacking the incumbents Republican challengers, Dan Sullivan and Mead Treadwell.

In July, Senate Majority donated another $1.1 million to PAF, bring its total support for the Alaska super PAC — which lists its address as a post office box in Anchorage on FEC reports — to $5.2 million.