Campaign Finance

GOP super PACs’ fundraising dominates Dems

Rachael Marcus Aug 21, 2012

Conservative super PACs dominated their Democratic rivals in the latest round of fundraising, according to reports from the Federal Election Commission filed Monday.

Restore Our Future, a super PAC supporting presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, brought in $7.5 million in July, finishing with an imposing $20.5 million in the bank. Top contributors include Texas homebuilder and super donor Bob Perry, who gave another $2 million.

Perry was already top donor to the group and the latest donation pushes his total to a whopping $8 million. Another major donor was the Renco Group, a family-owned investment company associated with billionaire investor Ira Rennert, which gave $1 million.

Conservative super PAC American Crossroads brought in $7.1 million finishing the month with $29.5 million in the bank. Texas mega-donor and billionaire Robert Rowling’s TRT Holdings, a private holding company that includes Omni Hotels and Gold’s Gym, gave $1 million. TRT also gave $1 million to American Crossroads in February. Rowling personally gave $1 million to the super PAC in May and another $1 million in July.

Meanwhile, the Democratic super PACs didn’t fare quite as well.

Priorities USA Action, which supports President Barack Obama, brought in $4.8 million in July, a hefty total but well short of the pro-Romney group. It finished the month with $4.2 million on hand, about a fifth as much as the Restore Our Future juggernaut.

Major July contributions include $1 million from Mel Heifetz, a Philadelphia-based real estate investor involved in gay rights; $750,000 from billionaire Jon Stryker, an advocate for saving the great apes of the world and a supporter of social justice issues; and $500,000 from Anne Cox Chambers, primary owner of media giant Cox Enterprises.

Majority PAC, the Democratic super PAC aiming to elect Democrats to the U.S. Senate, took in $2.4 million in July and finished with $3.5 million on hand. Its top contributor last month was the super PAC Working for Working Americans, which gave $1 million.

House Majority PAC, the Democratic super PAC aiming to elect Democrats to the U.S. House, reported bringing in $764,000 in July. It closed the month with $4.6 million on hand. The month’s top donors include the International Association of Firefighters with $250,000 and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers with $350,000.

Former Ron Paul fan and super donor Peter Thiel gave another $1 million to the conservative super PAC Club for Growth Action. The super PAC took in $2.9 million in July and finished the month with $2.4 million.

Joe Ricketts, founder of TD Ameritrade, gave Ending Spending Action Fund, the conservative super PAC he founded, $375,000. The super PAC also got a $24,000 in-kind contribution from its sister nonprofit, Ending Spending Inc., which does not disclose its donors. The super PAC brought in $400,000 in July and finished the month with $218,000.

Tea-party aligned super PAC FreedomWorks for America brought in $539,000 in July and closed the month with $1 million on hand. Its affiliated, non-disclosing nonprofit, FreedomWorks Inc., was the super PAC’s biggest contributor, providing $67,000 in in-kind contributions.

In other outside spending:

  • Restore Our Future tries to refocus the presidential debate on the economy after Medicare dominated the headlines in recent weeks. The ad imagines a “Debate” between Romney and Obama on who can turn the economy around. The ad cost $10.5 million and is airing in 11 swing states, according to The Hill.
  • The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spent more than $401,000 on ads opposing Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., who faces Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill in November. Akin may have wrecked his campaign by remarking that “legitimate rape” rarely results in pregnancy. The GOP has withdrawn funding and lawmakers from both parties have called on him to step aside.
  • Crossroads GPS, the conservative nonprofit co-founded by Karl Rove, canceled its run of ads scheduled in Missouri to support Akin’s candidacy, Politico reported.
  • Majority PAC released a series of ads in Indiana, North Dakota and Ohio, states where Republicans are hoping to pick up U.S. Senate seats. “Unconstitutional” opposes tea partier Richard Mourdock in Indiana; “Sly One” opposes former Rep. Rick Berg in North Dakota and “Stocked” opposes former Ohio State Treasurer Josh Mandel.
  • House Majority PAC released “Problem,” an ad opposing lawyer Keith Rothfus in Pennsylvania’s 12th District. The seat, held by Democratic Rep. Mark Critz, is considered a tossup.
  • The League of Conservation Voters spent $105,000 on a series of mailers opposing former Virginia U.S. Sen. George Allen, a Republican, who hopes to win his job back.
  • America’s Next Generation, a right-leaning super PAC, spent $110,000 on direct mail and telephone calls opposing Obama from Aug. 20 to Aug. 30.
  • Can a father’s gaffe hurt his son’s political aspirations? Apparently the Arizona-focused National Horizon super PAC thinks so. The group created an ad reminding voters when former Vice President Dan Quayle spelled potato “potatoe.” Quayle is the father of Rep. 

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