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Priorities USA Action, Obama Super PAC, Says July Fundraising Dropped

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WASHINGTON -- Priorities USA Action, the super PAC backing President Barack Obama's reelection campaign, raised $4.7 million in July, according to a finance report filed on Monday -- 23 percent less than the group raised in June.

The super PAC, run by former White House aide Bill Burton, raised most of its July money from eight individuals, two unions and seven law firms. The biggest single contribution came from the real estate investor and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender activist Mel Heifetz.

Priorities USA Action raised $6.1 million in June.

The July contribution by Philadelphia-based Heifetz was initially reported by QueerTimes. Heifetz told the news site, "I did it after hearing my favorite comedian, Bill Maher, speak of his having given a similar amount as well. It occurred to me we all have to 'pay it forward,' lest we have a Republican president take our community back to the '60's.

"If Mitt [Romney] were to win, we could have both houses of Congress, the White House and the Supreme Court all taking orders from the religious right -- and against us," Heifetz continued.

Another noted LGBT activist, the architect Jon Stryker, contributed $750,000 in July. Stryker gave the same amount in June.

David E. Shaw, the founder of the hedge fund D.E. Shaw, known for its high-speed quantitative trading techniques, gave $500,000. Another corporate leader, Anne Cox Chambers, owner of the media company Cox Enterprises, chipped in $500,000. Chambers is the daughter of the fruitless 1920 Democratic presidential candidate John Cox.

Two unions, the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Pipe Fitting Industry and the Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers, gave $250,000 and $200,000, respectively.

Priorities USA has spent millions attacking Republican candidate Romney in recent months. The most recent advertisement made by the group attacked Romney and his vice presidential pick Rep. Paul Ryan over Ryan's tax plan, showing how Romney would pay fewer taxes under the Ryan plan.

Super PACs were created after two court decisions freed corporations, individuals and unions to spend unlimited sums in elections.

Democrats have opposed the decisions, most notably the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United ruling, and have been reluctant to embrace the pro-Obama super PAC. The group initially had a difficult time raising money, but in recent months has pulled in large sums. The group has racked up close to $20 million in pledged contributions.

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