Tales of super PAC spending in the Republican presidential race talk about the millions of dollars pouring into their coffers. A few specific donors are mentioned. There’s Sheldon Adelson, the casino magnate whose contributions have kept Newt Gingrich in the contest far longer than his own meager fundraising would normally have allowed. And hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin, who recently told the Chicago Tribune that he thinks the wealthy “actually have an insufficient influence” in the political system. But Griffin has given only $400,000 to super PACs in the 2012 cycle, which puts him on the lower end of the scale of leading super PAC donors.
At the end of January, there were 59 donors who had given $500,000 or more to at least one super PAC. These donors, whose contributions total $80.12 million, accounted for 61 percent of all contributions to super PACs. Contributions from donors giving over $100,000 — $111.1 million in total — account for 85.5 percent of all super PAC donations. “Super PACs are for the 1 percent,” said University of California-Irvine election law professor Rick Hasen.
Just who are the 59 donors who have given at least $500,000? Forty-one are individuals. Nine are corporations. Seven are unions. The final two are a trade group and a nonprofit funding their own super PACs.