A burst of giving by liberal donors and a last-ditch effort to fend off GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump helped super PACs pick up nearly $100 million in new donations by the end of March, pushing the total raised by such groups this cycle to more than $700 million, according to a Washington Post analysis of Federal Election Commission reports. At this pace, super PACs will raise $1 billion by the end of June. In the entire 2012 cycle, such groups brought in $853 million, according to FEC filings. The Post is keeping a running tally of the largest contributors of the 2016 cycle, whose six- and seven-figure checks have allowed super PACs to spend $278 million so far on ads and voter outreach.
Already, nine mega-donors have each given at least $10 million to such groups, which can take unlimited sums from individuals and corporations. Together, that tiny cadre has provided 17 percent of the money raised through March 31, The Post found.
Now topping the list of mega-donors: conservative hedge-fund magnate Robert Mercer. His total giving reached $17.2 million after he put $2 million more into a super PAC supporting Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.) in March. The Renaissance Technologies co-chief-executive moves up from fourth place, bumping liberal San Francisco environmentalist Tom Steyer out of the No. 1 slot.