The Sunlight Foundation Shows Who Drove the Super Pac Contributions in 2011
By Sunlight Foundation Reporting Group, Feb 01, 2012
The deadline for presidential super PACs like Restore Our Future and Winning Our Future — supporting, respectively, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich — and other committees to file their disclosures with the Federal Election Commission fell at 11:59 p.m. Sunlight's Reporting Group combed through the filings, looking to see who's writing six- and seven-figure checks to the super PACs that are trying to influence voters in the Republican primaries — and beyond. We're also providing a chart tracking super PACs playing in the presidential race where you can download .csv files of their latest FEC filings. If you do, be sure to check our our data notes here.
Top Donors to Endorse Liberty include PayPal co-founders Peter Thiel and Luke Nosek. Thiel, a libertarian, is the founder of the Thiel Foundation. The Foundation seeks to "defend and promote freedom in all its dimensions: political, personal and economic," according the website. James O'Neill, co-founder of the foundation also made a donation to the PAC.
— Mike George is the founder of Strong America Now, a super PAC that supported Newt Gingrich, and the group's sole funder. George is listed as a self-employed business man from Austin, Texas according to reports released yesterday through the Federal Election Commission and a Tea Party activist. George gave $101,000 to his group through December 31 of last year and spent that money mainly on robo-calls and mailers supporting Newt Gingrich and opposing Mitt Romney.
— Texas businessman Harold Simmons, who had supported Texas presidential candidate Rick Perry, poured $5 million into American Crossroads’ super PAC during the last months of 2011; his company, Contran Corp., donated another $2 million. A privately held holding company, Contran has stakes in a long list of companies, and reported spending $320,000 on federal lobbying last year. One of these, Waste Control Specialists, a radioactive waste facility that got favorable treatment by Perry’s Texas administration reported lobbying on waste treatment and the Endangered Species Act. Another company, Titanium corp., weighed in on tariffs. Simmons is a major donor to GOP candidates and parties > and was a bundler for former presidential candidate John McCain.
— Indiana-based Whiteco Industries, which operates real estate, construction, and other businesses, kicked in $1 million in November to American Crossroads. The company’s vice president, John Peterman (not to be confused with the John Peterman made famous on Seinfeld), also gave $100,000 to the group in 2010. He and his wife have also contributed more than $235,000 over the years, mostly to Republicans but with some notable exceptions: a $2,300 donation to Barack Obama in 2007. (His contributions to the McCain campaign were later refunded.)
— Environmentally friendly cleaning products company Melaleuca and three subsidiaries collectively contributed $1 million to Romney.
— Lots of money from financial firms and hedge funds going to Restore Our Future. Robert Mercer of Renaissance Technologies, gave $1 million. In 2010, he funded ads that attacked Rep. Peter DeFasio, D-Ore.
— Eli Publishing and F8 LLC, two businesses that share an address in Provo, Utah, both gave $1 million to Restore Our Future. The donations have been linked to Steven J. Lund, a director of anti-aging cream company Nu Skin, who's listed as the agent of one of those businesses in Utah records.
— Another major donor to Restore Our Future is Tiger Management's Julian Robertson who gave the PAC $1 million.
— Spreading it around: Harold Simmons gave to both the pro-Gingrich Winning Our Future ($500,000) and the pro-Perry Make Us Great Again ($1 million).
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