Sisters Deborah Simon and Cynthia Simon-Skjodt, scions of Indiana’s leading business family, are pouring millions into backing Democrats, after opposing Vice President Mike Pence for years over his stance on abortion and religious freedom laws.
The wealthy sisters, whose father, Melvin Simon, co-founded the Simon Property Group, owners of hundreds of shopping malls and centers across the United States, have already dropped $12 million toward backing Democrats, reports Politico.
This makes their contributions the seventh-largest amount of cash donated to either party. They are largely unknown nationally, but their party donations follow years of money given to progressive nonprofit organizations like the Anti-Defamation League and Planned Parenthood.
Friends of the family told Politico that the sisters, who usually avoid attention from the media, were alarmed by President Donald Trump’s election.
Pence, while governor of Indiana, signed a law allowing companies to deny service to individuals based on freedom of religion claims, infuriating the Simon family and other members of Indiana’s business community.
Deborah Simon, meanwhile, was especially upset when Pence became vice-president, particularly because of his push to defund Planned Parenthood, an Indiana political operative told Politico.
During the last midterm election, the sisters donated $48,700 to federal candidates, but after Trump was elected, they each gave $1 million to Senate Majority PAC to help reelect Sen. Joe Donnelly and to help Democrats retake the Senate.
Their donations to the PAC have now risen to $5.5 million, and they’ve donated millions more to the political arm of the political arm of Planned Parenthood, the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and more.
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