Top Donors In 2012 Presidential Campaign - KLFY News 10

Top Donors In 2012 Presidential Campaign

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- Chicago is President Barack Obama's kind of town when it comes to top-dollar campaign donations. Windy City media baron Fred Eychaner was a leading Obama donor during the 2008 campaign and has raised more money for the president's re-election campaign this election season than any other Democratic donor.

Eychaner joins DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, a New York hedge fund manager, a Southern California billionaire and a Michigan philanthropist in giving millions of dollars to help Obama win a second term. They are helping fund a presidential election that surpassed $2 billion in October, with money going toward the individual Republican and Democratic campaigns as well as independent "super" political committees working on the campaigns' behalf.

Political donations can open doors that are closed to most people. Big-dollar donors are often invited to state dinners at the White House and other events with the president. They also may be asked to weigh in on public policy, especially if it affects their own financial interests. And the ranks of ambassadors, advisory panels and other government jobs traditionally are filled with those who have been unusually generous during the campaign.

Based on an examination of more than 3.9 million campaign contributions through final pre-election finance reports in mid-October - the methodology is below - The Associated Press has ranked the top five financial supporters of Obama's:

No. 1: Fred Eychaner, founder of Chicago-based alternative-newspaper publisher Newsweb Corp.

Total: $3.57 million

Eychaner has given $3.5 million to the Priorities USA Action super PAC, the key pro-Obama committee that has aired millions of dollars' worth of ads critical of GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Eychaner has also given more than $60,000 to the president's re-election committees, and he's listed as a major "bundler" for Obama, having raised at least $500,000 for the president. Eychaner, a gay-rights activist, also has donated millions to other nonprofit groups, including more than $1 million to the progressive EMILY's List organization. He's visited the White House several times since early 2009, according to records, and Obama appointed Eychaner to the board of trustees of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. During the 2008 election cycle, Newsweb spent more than $1.7 million on Illinois elections and about $200,000 on the federal level, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

No. 2: James Simons, 74, New York philanthropist, investor and founder of Renaissance Technologies.

Total: $3.5 million

Simons hasn't given one dollar to Obama's re-election campaign or the Democratic Party, but he's the most generous giver to Democratic-leaning super PACs. He's a billionaire hedge fund manager who's also president of Euclidean Capital. In August, he gave $2 million to Priorities USA Action and added $1 million more to the committee in September. His giving isn't limited to the presidential race: He's also donated big dollars to two super PACs helping Democrats in Congress, including $1.5 million to Majority PAC and $500,000 to the House Majority PAC. He's maxed out contributions to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee - it helps get Democrats elected to the House - and has helped DCCC Chairman Steve Israel's re-election effort.

No. 3: Jeffrey Katzenberg, 61, Hollywood film producer and chief executive of DreamWorks Animation.

Total: $3.07 million

A reliable Democratic Party mega-donor in past years, Katzenberg has given $3 million to Priorities USA Action this election cycle. Katzenberg has helped bundle more than $500,000 for the president's second term, making him among the campaign's top volunteer fundraisers. He's also given more than $66,000 to Obama's campaign and the Democratic Party. The Hollywood icon has been invited to White House events, including a state dinner. Such high-profile soirees put him in proximity earlier this year to Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping, who signed off on an overseas deal benefiting Katzenberg's studio.

No. 4: Irwin Jacobs, 78, the founder and former chairman of Qualcomm.

Total: $2.122 million

Jacobs has given more than $2 million to pro-Obama super PACs and about $23,000 directly to Obama's campaign and the Democrats. But he's no newcomer to political giving: The La Jolla, Calif., billionaire has routinely backed San Diego-area politicians, including those in City Hall. Some of his local proposals have caused dust-ups in town, including one backed by San Diego's mayor that would have changed the name of Qualcomm Stadium for 10 days to reflect the cellphone-maker's new computer chip. Another proposal was to alter automobile traffic and parking in the city's historic Balboa Park. The plan was overwhelming approved by city officials, although a firm tied to Jacobs spent $34,000 to lobby the San Diego government for the change.

No. 5: Jon Stryker, 54, a Michigan philanthropist.

Total: $2.066 million

Stryker has given $2 million to the Priorities USA Action super PAC and has given $66,000 in contributions to Obama and the Democratic Party. Stryker is the heir to namesake Stryker Corp., the major medical-device and equipment manufacturer. Stryker has been active in politics before the 2012 election. He contributed millions to help Democratic candidates statewide, and he also has given nearly $250 million of his personal wealth to groups supporting gay rights and the conservation of apes.

METHODOLOGY

These rankings by The Associated Press, based on campaign financial reports submitted to the Federal Election Commission, include contributions to super PACs, presidential campaigns, political parties and joint-fundraising committees that help Obama. Federal law limits maximum contributions to campaigns, parties and affiliated committees, but federal court rulings have stripped away such limits on super PACs. This analysis excludes secret but legal contributions that might have been made to nonprofit groups, which can pay for so-called issue ads that don't explicitly advocate for or against a candidate. Such groups are not required to identify their donors.

Where available, the analysis considered donations bundled, or raised, from other wealthy donors for Obama or Republican nominee Mitt Romney. Obama periodically identifies his bundlers. Romney has resisted repeated calls to do the same.

 

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Republicans hit the jackpot with casino mogul Sheldon Adelson. Worth an estimated $25 billion, Adelson has donated $44.2 million so far to aid Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and organizations supporting Romney this election.

Other top donors giving millions of dollars to aid Romney's campaign include a trio of Texas money moguls and the head of a South Florida-based energy conglomerate. Their contribution totals expanded by $17 million in the first half of October, according to Federal Election Commission records. Adelson remained ahead of the pack, donating $10 million in October, but the others also added recently to their totals.

Those donors and others are funding a presidential election that surpassed $2 billion in October, with money going toward individual Democratic and Republican campaigns as well as independent, "super" political committees working on the campaigns' behalf.

Political donations can open doors that are closed to most people. Big-dollar donors are often invited to state dinners at the White House and other events with the president. They also may be asked to weigh in on public policy, especially if it affects their own financial interests. And the ranks of ambassadors, advisory panels and other government jobs traditionally are filled with those who have been unusually generous during the campaign.

Based on an examination of more than 3.9 million campaign contributions through final pre-election finance reports in mid-October - the methodology is below - The Associated Press has ranked the top five financial supporters bankrolling the Republican presidential run:

No. 1: Sheldon Adelson, 79, owner of the Las Vegas Sands casino empire.

Total: $44.2 million

Adelson is the largest declared donor to the Romney campaign and supporting political committees, providing more than $44.2 million this election season. He and his wife, Miriam, a physician who heads the Nevada-based Adelson Drug Clinic, have given $20 million to the Restore Our Future, a super PAC backing Romney. The couple gave half of that total to the super PAC in early October. Adelson also joined relatives to give $24 million to committees backing former GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich. And he has made public pledges to give $10 million to Karl Rove's American Crossroads super PAC and as much as $100 million this election more broadly to the GOP. Worth an estimated $25 billion, Adelson oversees the Las Vegas Sands Corp., which runs casino and resort interests in Las Vegas, Singapore and Bethlehem, Pa., and Sands China Ltd., a cluster of casinos in the Chinese territory of Macau. He would benefit from loosened trade restrictions and a rise in the Chinese currency rate against the dollar. His company devoted $60,000 this year to lobby on tax issues, foreign tourist visas, travel and Internet gambling issues - and has spent $1.86 million lobbying on legislation dealing with China trade, gambling and travel since 2002. A staunch supporter of Israel, he also is a contributor to the Republican Jewish Coalition, which spent $920,000 since 2002 backing bills aimed at pressuring Iran and enhancing U.S. security cooperation with Israel. Adelson's casino company has advised shareholders that it was under investigation by the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission. Investigators were said to be focusing on the Macau casinos and reports of missing money and possible violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

No. 2: Harold Simmons, 81, owner of Contran Corp., a Dallas-based conglomerate worth an estimated $9 billion that specializes in metals and chemical production and waste management.

Total: $22 million

Simmons is a longtime backer of GOP and conservative causes. He has donated $22 million to the party's efforts this year, including $17.5 million to American Crossroads. Simmons gave Rove's committee $6.5 million in early October. Simmons has donated $2.3 million to Restore Our Future - $500,000 in September. Simmons and his wife, Annette, also gave $2.2 million to Super PACs backing former GOP presidential candidates Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Rick Perry. Simmons has been active in political fundraising since the 1990s and in 2004 was a $4 million backer of the Swift Vets campaign, the GOP-backed effort to discredit Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry's military record in the Vietnam War. Simmons' Titanium Metals Corp. reportedly is a top producer of titanium for weapons and other industrial uses. He also owns a majority stake in Valhi Inc., a Texas-based waste management company, and could benefit from a proposed Nuclear Regulatory Commission rule change that would allow the company's Texas facility to store spent uranium from nuclear power and weapons plants. Contran's subsidiaries have spent $200,000 this year lobbying the NRC, the Energy Department, the Senate and the House on metals and waste issues, and $4.3 million over the past decade, including efforts to protect a Pentagon rule limiting titanium purchases to U.S. producers. Simmons was fined $19,800 by the Federal Election Commission in 1993 for exceeding the then-annual $25,000 limit on individual campaign contributions, which has since been lowered.

No. 3:

Bob J. Perry, 80, head of a Houston real estate empire worth an estimated $650 million.

Total: $18.3 million

Perry has given $18.3 million to aid the Romney campaign and allied causes so far this election season. His most recent donation was $1 million to Rove's super PAC in October. Long active in Texas and national GOP politics, Perry has donated a total of $10.7 million to Restore Our Future and $7.5 million to American Crossroads. Before backing Romney this year, Perry gave $100,000 to the super PAC backing Texas Gov. Rick Perry (no relation). Bob Perry has been a fixture of GOP fundraising in Texas and nationally dating back to former President George W. Bush's Texas gubernatorial races in the mid-1990s. Perry was a top Bush presidential "bundler" and also gave big to the Swift Vets and POWs for Truth campaign in 2004, donating $4.4 million to the effort to discredit Kerry.

No. 4: Robert Rowling, 58, head of Dallas-based TRT Holdings.

Total: $5.1 million

Rowling has given at least $5.1 million to Republican Party and candidates this election. Most of his contributions, $5 million, went to Rove's American Crossroads, both through personal donations and through his firm. Rowling also has given $100,000 to the pro-Romney Restore Our Future super PAC. Rowling's holdings are worth an estimated $4.8 billion and include Omni Hotels, Gold's Gym and Tana Exploration, his family's oil company. Rowling once told the Texas Tribune he prefers political donations to lobbying efforts. Rowling has been a big donor in Texas political circles, winning a role for Omni as operator of Dallas' convention center hotel after a 2009 city referendum fight.

No. 5: William Koch, 72, an industrialist whose South Florida-based energy and mining conglomerate is worth an estimated $4 billion.

Total: $4 million

Koch has given $4 million to the Restore Our Future, including a $250,000 personal donation and $3.75 million through his corporation, Oxbow Carbon LLC, and a subsidiary, Huron Carbon. Oxbow's latest $1 million donation to the pro-Romney committee was listed Friday. Unlike his brothers, Charles and David Koch, who are longtime supporters of Republican and conservative causes, Bill Koch has funded both GOP and Democratic Party candidates in the past. Koch's corporate interests have repeatedly battled against what company officials have decried as government interference. Oxbow spent $570,000 last year on lobbying in Washington, mostly aimed at mining, safety issues and climate change. The company has complained in federal filings about government delays on permits and has raised concerns about administration changes in regulations that would aid collective bargaining. Koch also has pushed for approval of the Central Rockies Land Exchange, a proposed swap of land tracts in Colorado and Utah to enlarge his 4,500-acre Bear Ranch. The proposal, which requires congressional approval, has sparked local opposition.

METHODOLOGY

These rankings by The Associated Press, based on campaign financial reports submitted to the Federal Election Commission, include contributions to super PACs, presidential campaigns, political parties and joint-fundraising committees. Federal law limits maximum contributions to campaigns, parties and affiliated committees, but federal court rulings have stripped away such limits to super PACs. This analysis excludes secret but legal contributions that might have been made to nonprofit groups, which can pay for so-called issue ads that don't explicitly advocate for or against a candidate. Such groups are not required to identify their donors.

Where available, the analysis considered donations "bundled," or raised, from other wealthy donors for Romney and President Barack Obama. Obama periodically identifies his bundlers, but Romney has resisted calls to do the same.

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.  


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