Super PAC contributors have the means and leverage to control the United States government. Unlike traditional PACs (Political Action Committees), Super PACs can raise and spend an unlimited amount of money to support or oppose political candidates. Super PAC’s had already raised more than $125 million by mid-February. This money has primarily been used to directly attack political candidates in negative ad campaigns.
Incredibly, 25% of all Super PAC contributions come from 5 wealthy contributors. An article in Forbes Magazine says political influence is the cheapest asset around for billionaire investors, and “2012 represents a watershed year for the relationship between money and power.” Meet the 1% elite of the wealthiest 1% bankrolling GOP candidates.
- Harold Simmons, a Dallas-based investor has contributed $14.2 million to Super PACs to date for the 2012 election. Simmons is touted with developing the LBO (leveraged buyout) and owns 5 companies traded on the NYSE, with interests in chemicals, banking, nuclear waste management, medicine, construction and minerals. With a net worth of $9.3 billion, as of 9/2011,
- Sheldon Adelson, a gambling mogul with casinos in Las Vegas and Asia, has already given $10 million to a Super PAC for the 2012 election. Adelson was quoted as saying, “I’m against very wealthy people attempting to or influencing elections, but as long as its doable, I’m going to do it.” Adelson’s wife, Miriam Adelson, makes many of these contributions in her own name, making her one of the top 5 contributors to Super PACs this campaign season.
- Bob Perry, a Houston-based developer has donated more than $19 million to Republican interests…$3.6 million to Super PACs in 2011. alone. Described by Politico as “the Republican Party’s biggest donor”, one of Perry’s greatest concerns in tort reform. He has invested heavily in candidates who seek to “limit lawsuits and cap jury awards against businesses“.
- Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal, rounds out the top five heavy hitters. This Silicon Valley based venture capitalist has already donated more than $2.6 million to the Super PAC funding Ron Paul’s campaign. USAToday quoted Thiel, a self-proclaimed libertarian, as saying, “Men and women who want freedom and growth should take action.”
These grotesque amounts of money are just the tip of the iceberg. As the 2012 looms near, at least $1 billion is expected to flow into Super PACs from the extremely wealthy 1%, looking to purchase political influence and have their personal agendas represented. A recent article by the Huffington Post alleges that the notorious Koch Brothers have pledged $100 million to Super PACs to whomever gains the Republican nomination, to defeat President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election. Read More…