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Democratic Super PACs Raise $31 Million In September

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Director Steven Spielberg  (AP Photo/Evan Agostini)
Director Steven Spielberg (AP Photo/Evan Agostini)

WASHINGTON -- The top three Democratic super PACs are closing strong with a collective take of $31 million in September. The big fundraising haul was thanks to mega-donors coming through with $1 million checks, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission on Friday and Saturday.

In a shift from previous months, the three super PACs raised more than their Republican counterparts. Priorities USA Action, Majority PAC and House Majority PAC's haul outpaced the $28.5 million raised by the top three spending Republican groups, Restore Our Future, American Crossroads and Club for Growth Action.

Leading the way is Priorities USA Action, a group backing President Barack Obama and run by former White House aide Bill Burton, which raised $15.2 million in September, the most of any super PAC that month and slightly ahead of the $14.8 million raised by the Mitt Romney-allied Restore Our Future.

House Majority PAC, a pro-Democratic group that hopes to flip the House of Representatives to Democratic control, raised $5.8 million in September, far surpassing the less than $2 million raised in the past three months by Congressional Leadership Fund and YG Action Fund, the two super PACs connected to the House Republican leadership. House Majority PAC has targeted more than 30 races this fall in hopes of cutting into the Republican majority.

While Majority PAC, a Democratic group that's focused on the Senate, does not have a direct Republican counterpart, its $10.4 million was the fourth highest amount raised by any super PAC in September.

The group has spent big in recent months to protect Democratic seats in North Dakota, Virginia, Ohio, Wisconsin and Montana while playing offense in Indiana and Arizona. The group announced a big haul of $9.7 million for the first two weeks of October, showing that its strong fundraising streak is continuing.

Nearly all of the money raised by the three super PACs came from donors cutting six-figure checks. In many cases the groups shared the same donors.

Both media entrepreneur Fred Eychaner and James Simons, the founder of the hedge fund Renaissance Technologies, gave huge amounts to all three groups in September. Simons gave $1.5 million each to Priorities USA Action and Majority PAC and $500,000 to House Majority PAC. Eychaner gave $2 million to Priorities USA Action and $1 million each to House Majority PAC and Majority PAC.

The United Auto Workers, meanwhile, made its first big foray into super PAC giving in September, with a $1 million contribution to Priorities USA Action, $700,000 to Majority PAC and $250,000 to House Majority PAC.

Many other donors, especially unions, gave to at least two of the three super PACs. United Association, the union for plumbers and pipefitters, and affiliates gave $673,100 to Priorities USA Action and $100,000 to House Majority PAC. Publisher Win McCormack gave $500,000 to Priorities USA Action and $400,000 to Majority PAC. S. Daniel Abraham, the billionaire founder of Slim-Fast, gave $1 million to Priorities USA Action and $175,000 to Majority PAC.

Abraham was one of the new members of the $1 million-plus club of donors to Democratic groups in September. He was joined by director Steven Spielberg and Bush v. Gore lawyer David Boies, both of whom made $1 million contributions to the pro-Obama Priorities USA Action.

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