Republicans are attracting big-time donors at twice the clip of Democrats in contributions to super PAC fundraising groups, according to a USA Today analysis
The newspaper’s nose count reveals that 12 people and companies donated $12.1 million out of the $23.7 million that seven major super PACs raised during the first half of the year. Super PACS, which are required to operate independently from candidates, are able to raise unrestricted amounts of money, while candidates themselves are limited.
The fact that GOP-affiliated groups outraised their Democratic counterparts by more than 2-1 indicates “the willingness of Republican donors to write big checks to deny President Obama a second term,” the USA Today analysis noted.
Overall, seven major groups took in $23.7 million during the first half of the year, with a combined $12.1 million coming from just 12 people and companies, the national daily reported
Presidential candidates themselves cannot collect more than $2,500 from an individual for a primary or general election, but the super PACS can boost a campaign. For example, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney supporters collected four checks of $1 million each for Restore Our Future, a super PAC created to boost the former Massachusetts governor, USA Today reported. That group has raised a total of $12.3 million, far outpacing the amounts Romney's rivals collected for their official campaign committees, according to Federal Election Commission records.
"The super PACs are for the wealthy, by the wealthy and of the wealthy," said Meredith McGehee of the Campaign Legal Center watchdog group. "You're setting up a dynamic where the candidates could become bit players in their own campaigns," McGehee told USA Today.
USA Today’s listing of million-dollar donors to PACs includes New York hedge-fund manager John Paulson, who gave to Restore Our Future. Eli Publishing and F8 LLC, two companies that share an address in Provo, Utah, donated $1 million each to the group backing Romney, the paper reported.
Super PAC bankrolls reveal just part of the outside money that could be brought to bear in the 2012 elections, USA Today noted. It cited American Crossroads, which was launched last year with help from President George W. Bush's political strategist Karl Rove, and Priorities USA, co-founded by former Obama spokesman Bill Burton, as having partner organizations that don't have to reveal their donors.
“American Crossroads reported raising $3.9 million during the first six months of the year, but the separate arm that doesn't have to reveal its donors, Crossroads GPS, already has spent $19 million on advertising assailing Democrats ahead of the 2012 congressional races,” USA Today reported.
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