Who’s Behind The Super PAC Explosion

The Article: The “People” Behind The Super PAC Explosion by Gavin Aronsen and Dave Gilson on Mother Jones.

The Text: Since last January, super-PACs have raised nearly $93 million in preparation for the 2012 election. Of that, more than 35 percent was donated by corporations, unions, and nonprofits—or, as we’ve come to know them in the post-Citizens United era, people. Though non-people people have not dominated super-PAC giving (for now), their strong showing in the recent round of financial disclosures lends credence to campaign finance reformers’ concerns that super-PACs enable cash-flush organizations to buy outsized influence over elections and candidates. The average corporate or union super-PAC donation was more than $62,000; in contrast, the average individual donation was around $23,500.

Of the $22.4 million collectively raised by the biggest 20 corporate and union super-PAC donors, 37 percent was from labor groups, which contributed to both liberal super-PACs and their own super-PACs. The rest was largely corporate donations to conservative super-PACs and groups supporting (but officially unconnected to) Republican presidential candidates. See the next page for a list of the biggest human donors to super-PACs—some of whose companies also appear on the list below.

Top 20 “People”* Giving to PACs

*As defined by Citizens United

1. Contran Corporation: A Dallas-based holding company owned by Harold Simmons. Owns Waste Control Specialists, which operates radioactive and hazardous waste disposal sites.
Donations: $3,000,000
Recipients: American Crossroads (Karl Rove’s super-PAC), Make Us Great Again (pro-Perry super-PAC)

2. AFL-CIO: The nation’s largest federation of labor unions, representing more than 12 million members. Its affiliates include the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), American Federation of Teachers, and Communications Workers of America.
Donations: $2,306,372
Recipients: American Bridge 21st Century, AFL-CIO Workers’ Voices PAC

3. Service Employees International Union: Union representing more than 2 million healthcare and service workers.
Donations: $1,945,000
Recipients: Priorities USA Action, American Bridge 21st Century, Majority PAC, House Majority PAC, Rethink PAC

4. FreedomWorks: 501(c)4 arm of the tea party super-PAC chaired by former House Majority Leader Dick Armey. It does not have to disclose its donors.
Donations: $1,336,779
Recipient: FreedomWorks for America (own super-PAC)

5. Cooperative of American Physicians: Malpractice and medical liability insurer that gave to its eponymous super-PAC.
Donations: $1,300,149
Recipient: Cooperative of American Physicians

6. American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees: AFL-CIO afilliated public employees’ union with more than 1.6 million members.
Donations: $1,200,000
Recipients: American Bridge 21st Century, House Majority PAC, AFL-CIO Workers’ Voices PAC, Women Vote!

7. Communications Workers of America: AFL-CIO afilliated telecommunications union with more than 700,000 members.
Donations: $1,097,971
Recipients: Communications Workers of America (own super-PAC), House Majority PAC, Independent Source, The American Worker

8. (tie) Eli Publishing, Inc.: Mysterious company based in Provo, Utah. Shares an address with F8 LLC.
Donations: $1,000,000
Recipient: Restore Our Future (pro-Romney super-PAC)

8. (tie) F8 LLC: Mysterious company based in Provo, Utah. Shares an address with Eli Publishing.
Donations: $1,000,000
Recipient: Restore Our Future

8. (tie) Melaluca: Idaho-based company that sells dietary supplements and “green” cleaning products via “independent marketing executives.”
Donations: $1,000,000
Recipient: Restore Our Future

8. (tie) Rooney Holdings, Inc.: Oklahoma-based private investment firm. Its CEO, Francis Rooney, was the US Ambassador to the Vatican from 2005 to 2008.
Donations: $1,000,000
Recipient: Restore Our Future

8. (tie) W Spann LLC: Front company founded by Edward Conard, former managing director at Bain Capital.
Donations: $1,000,000
Recipient: Restore Our Future

8. (tie) Whiteco Industries: Privately owned Indiana company with subsidiaries in construction, hospitality, outdoor advertising, and real estate.
Donations: $1,000,000
Recipient: American Crossroads

9. Crow Holdings: Investment firm that manages the family fortune of the late real estate magnate Trammel Crow. Harlan Crow is his son.
Donations: $900,000
Recipients: American Crossroads, Restore Our Future, FreedomWorks for America

10: Oxbow Carbon: Coal and oil company founded by William Koch, the brother of Charles and David Koch. It mines more than 5 million tons of coal annually.
Donations: $750,000
Recipient: Restore Our Future

11. American Federation of Teachers: AFL-CIO afilliated union with more 1.5 million members in education, health care, and public service.
Donations: $700,000
Recipients: AFL-CIO Workers’ Voices PAC

12. (tie) MBF Family Investments: Private investment fund linked to Miguel Fernandez, the chairman of a Florida private-equity firm.
Donations: $500,000
Recipient: Restore Our Future

12. (tie) Unite Here Tip State & Local Fund: Outside spending group affiliated with Unite Here, an AFL-CIO afilliated labor union representing hotel, gaming, food service, and manufacturing workers.
Donations: $500,000
Recipients: AFL-CIO Workers’ Voices PAC

13. National Education Association: Union representing more than 3.2 million public school teachers
Donations: $484,151
Recipients: NEA Advocacy Fund (own super-PAC), The American Worker

14. Alliance Management Holdings: Partnership that owns Alliance Resource Management, a coal company.
Donations: $425,000
Recipients: American Crossroads


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