WASHINGTON -- Four Democratic super PACs announced in a joint statement on Friday that they had raised a combined $25 million in the second quarter of 2012. The groups -- Priorities USA Action, Majority PAC, House Majority PAC, and American Bridge 21st Century/American Bridge 21st Century Foundation -- increased their fundraising by two and a half times from their first-quarter haul.
Priorities announced on Friday that it had raised $6 million in June, pushing its second-quarter fundraising number to $11.7 million to lead the four Democratic super PACs. The Senate-focused Majority PAC raised $5.4 million, House Majority PAC raised $4.3 million and American Bridge 21st Century raised $4.1 million.
"Karl Rove, the Koch Brothers, and their right wing allies are preparing to spend overwhelming amounts of money to flood Washington with supporters of their extreme agenda," the groups said in their joint statement. "Together we're ensuring that Democrats will have the resources to level the playing field and fight back against the right's attacks in order to keep the White House, maintain a majority in the Senate and take back the House.”
A New York Times Magazine article recently detailed the extent to which Priorities USA Action has ramped up its fundraising operation in recent months. That has included a renewed push for big-dollar donors giving $500,000 or more. According to the Times article, and confirmed by The Huffington Post, Priorities has received commitments of $20 million in future contributions.
As of Friday, three of the four super PACs had yet to file their second quarter reports (or in the case of Priorities USA Action, which files monthly, the report for the month of June). Those reports will help illuminate the donors who are powering the surge in fundraising for the Democratic super PACs.
One bright sign for the super PACs came in a disclosure by the joint fundraising vehicle Unity 2012, which raises money for Priorities, Majority PAC and House Majority PAC. The disclosure, released on Friday, showed a $1 million contribution from Haim Saban, a Hollywood producer best known for the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Saban, a major Democratic donor in the past, was seen as being on the fence this year, as he had been critical of Obama's policy towards Israel. Saban's $1 million contribution has been split three ways by the groups connected to Unity 2012.
House Majority PAC is one of the two super PACs that has disclosed all of its contributions for the second quarter. The group received big contributions from many now-familiar faces in Democratic super PAC donor circles.
These include $750,000 from Donald Sussman, a hedge fund investor and husband to Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine); $500,000 each from famed hedge fund investor James Simons and Amber Mostyn, wife of trial lawyer Steve Mostyn; $250,000 from heiress Anne Earhart and the Laborers' International Union, each; and smaller but still substantial contributions from AFSCME ($105,000), SEIU ($71,000), DRIVE PAC ($50,000) and Kareem Ahmed ($50,000), a major donor to Priorities USA Action.
American Bridge 21st Century, the opposition research depot created by Media Matters head David Brock, raised $2.8 million in the second quarter of this year. Nearly one-third of that money came in the form of a $1 million contribution by billionaire financier and right-wing bogeyman George Soros. The group also received big contributions from Amy Goldman ($250,000), Lee Fikes ($150,000), Win McCormack ($150,000) and Wayne Jordan ($150,000). The group's sister nonprofit -- American Bridge 21st Century Foundation -- raised $1.3 million in the second quarter, but is not required to disclose its donors.
The Senate-focused Majority PAC pulled in big contributions from media magnate Fred Eychaner ($800,000), the public employee union AFSCME ($500,000), the ophthamology company Vitreo-Retinal Consultants ($400,000), National Air Traffic Controllers Union ($350,000), American Federation of Teachers ($300,000) and the law firm McHugh & Wilkes ($250,000).
The Democratic groups are still likely to be outraised by their counterparts on the Republican side. The pro-Mitt Romney Restore Our Future is expected to report a $10 million contribution from billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, in addition to other contributions. American Crossroads, the Karl Rove-linked super PAC, is likely to raise millions more, and the Congressional Leadership Fund could also equal or surpass its Democratic rivals.
Below, a list of top super PAC donors in the 2012 election cycle:
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