Close to 60 corporations and wealthy individuals gave checks of $100,000 or more to a “super PAC” supporting Mitt Romney in the months leading up to the Iowa caucuses, according to documents released on Tuesday, underwriting a $17 million blitz of advertising that has swamped his Republican rivals in the early primary states. President Obama reported raising some $39.9 million in the fourth quarter, not including money he raised for the Democratic National Committee or transfers to a joint fund-raising account with the party. The filings to the Federal Election Commission, the first detailed look at a crucial source of support for Mr. Romney, showed his ability to win substantial backing from a small number of his party’s most influential and wealthy patrons, each contributing to the super PAC far more than the $2,500 check each could legally write to his campaign. All told, the group, Restore Our Future, raised about $18 million from just 200 donors in the second half of 2011.
Millions of dollars came from financial industry executives, including Mr. Romney’s former colleagues at Bain Capital, who contributed a total of $750,000; senior executives at Goldman Sachs, who contributed $385,000; and some of the most prominent and politically active Republicans in the hedge fund world, three of whom gave $1 million each: Robert Mercer of Renaissance Technologies; Paul Singer of Elliott Management, and Julian Robertson of Tiger Management.
Harlan Crow, the Texas construction magnate, gave $300,000 personally and through his company. William Koch, whose brothers Charles and David are among the country’s most prominent backers of conservative causes, gave $1 million personally or through Oxbow Carbon, the energy company he founded. Members of the Walton family, founders of the Walmart chain, gave over $200,000, while Bob Perry — a wealthy home builder who has long been the top patron of Mr. Romney’s erstwhile rival, Gov. Rick Perry of Texas — chipped in $500,000 in early December. But as Mr. Romney sailed to an overwhelming victory in Florida’s primary on Tuesday night, fund-raising documents filed by President Obama showed the kind of financial juggernaut he will face if he becomes his party’s nominee: Mr. Obama reported raising a total of $140 million in 2011, far eclipsing the $57 million Mr. Romney raised for his campaign for the year.