Super PACs raised big bucks, filings show

Feb. 1, 2012 at 9:40 AM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 1 (UPI) -- Campaign finance reports named some of the names behind the deluge of ads that are part of the Republican presidential primaries.

Third-party super political action committees, known as super PACs, were mostly anonymous as voters were bombarded with television ads in early primary and caucus states for weeks, but Tuesday's midnight Federal Election Commission deadline for campaign finance reports offered a glimpse of who's behind the efforts, USA Today reported Wednesday.

Filings revealed Dallas businessman Harold Simmons donated $5 million to American Crossroads, and Simmons' company, Contran, donated $2 million.

Simmons also backed super PAC Winning Our Future that supports former House speaker Newt Gingrich, donating $500,000 in December to the group, filings indicated.

Strong America Now super PAC, which supports Gingrich, was funded solely by $101,000 from Mike George, a Dallas management consultant, FEC documents said.

Wyoming investor Foster Friess supported two super PACs -- the Leaders for Families Super PAC and Red White and Blue Fund -- that back former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, documents indicated.

Comedian Stephen Colbert, who started his own PAC to point up lax campaign finance laws, raised more than $1 million as of Monday.

A group of high-tech executives, including PayPal co-founder and Facebook investor Peter Thiel, supported U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas through the Endorse Liberty super PAC. Thiel contributed $900,000 in December, FEC documents indicated.

President Obama's campaign disclosed Tuesday the names of 446 individuals and couples who raised at least $74.4 million for his re-election through "bundling" contributions from family, friends and business associates, USA Today said.

Bundlers represented slightly more than half of the $139 million Obama raised in 2011.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's campaign raised the most among Republicans in 2011 with $57.1 million. Paul raised $26.1 million, Gingrich collected $12.7 million, and Santorum raised $2.2 million.

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