12 Biggest Donors of the 2012 Election
In this year’s elections, big donors have the chance to play a role almost as large as the candidates themselves. For the first time in a presidential election, wealthy individuals have no restrictions on how much money they can spend in support of a politician or cause.
So-called super PACs, which can raise unlimited sums as long as they disclose their sources, allow donors to change elections with the flick of a pen. Quite a few big check-writers have exercised this newfound power, some by boosting particular candidates and others by promoting their own pet causes.
These 12 donors gave more money to influence the election than anyone else this year.
It’s worth noting, however, that not all big givers want the spotlight afforded to super PAC titans. While super PACs must disclose their donors, political nonprofits, such as Karl Rove’s 501(c)(4) group Crossroads GPS, do not.
The election’s 14th-largest donor, Wyoming Republican Foster Freiss, explained the logic behind this giving strategy earlier this year.
“Well I’m going to [support Romney] more undercover, I’m going to do it through a lot of c4’s so it’s not so high profile,” Friess said at the Faith and Freedom Conference. “If you give to a c4, it doesn’t get disclosed. … So if I give money to various organizations, nobody knows what I’m giving. Even my wife won’t know.”
So, to be clear, here’s a list of the 12 people who spent the most money on the 2012 election—and don’t care if you know about it: