Federal Politics

Published — December 7, 2012 Updated — May 19, 2014 at 12:19 pm ET

Last-minute mega-donations fueled super PAC attacks

Adelson, Bloomberg drop millions into super PAC coffers in 11th hour

Introduction

Billionaire casino owner Sheldon Adelson gave $1 million to a super PAC active in Michigan’s U.S. Senate race during the campaign’s final days, a fact unknown to voters until long after polls closed.

Adelson supplied the bulk of funding for the “Hardworking Americans Committee” with the Oct. 19 donation, Federal Election Commission records show.

The super PAC spent more than $1 million on ads in a futile, last-minute attempt to boost former Republican Rep. Pete Hoekstra in his bid to oust incumbent Sen. Debbie Stabenow, a Democrat.

The deadline for reporting donations made since Oct. 17 was Thursday.

Last-minute contributions are not unusual in politics, but thanks to the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision and a lower court ruling, the amount a donor can give to outside groups’ electoral efforts is unlimited. Furthermore, donations to political action committees during the final three weeks of the election need not be reported until December.

The reporting gap should be closed, say watchdogs.

“Congress should amend our disclosure laws to give voters the information they need to make informed decisions on Election Day,” said Paul S. Ryan, an attorney at the Campaign Legal Center. “With current technology, disclosure is easier than ever for super PACs and other political players.”

Adelson, the top donor to super PACs in the 2012 election by a large margin, along with wife Miriam, also provided all $2 million of Republican Jewish Coalition Victory Fund’s war chest. The super PAC, which did not report any receipts before Election Day, pumped more than $1.7 million into advertising opposing President Barack Obama.

The Republican Jewish Coalition is a lobbying organization that seeks to “foster and enhance ties between the American Jewish community and Republican decision makers,” according to its website. It was started in 1985 and Adelson serves on the group’s board of directors.

Similarly, “Freedom Fund North America,” a GOP-aligned super PAC established on Oct. 15, spent $990,000 in the final weeks of the 2012 election, mostly attacking incumbent Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., and former North Dakota Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp.

Both Democrats prevailed in their hotly contested races.

The entirety of Freedom Fund’s $1 million budget came from Texas businessman and Republican mega-donor Bob Perry, according to FEC reports.

New records further show that billionaire New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg provided nearly $10 million to the “Independence USA PAC,” whose priorities include gun control, marriage equality for same-sex couples and education issues. It was launched on Oct. 18 and reported spending $8.2 million on five House races.

Two of its favored candidates — Democrat Gloria McLeod of California and Democrat Dan Maffei of California — won.

Super PACs can accept donations of unlimited amounts from corporations, unions and individuals.

FEC Vice Chairwoman Ellen Weintraub, a Democrat, stressed the importance of people having such information before they cast their votes.

“I always think the public benefits from and is entitled to transparency about the sources of political funds,” she said. “As the Supreme Court said in Citizens United, ‘The public has an interest in knowing who is speaking about a candidate shortly before an election.’”

The only other large contributions that went to the anti-Stabenow super PAC came from Amway President Doug DeVos and Michael Jandernoa, the former president and CEO of pharmaceutical company Perrigo, who each donated $100,000 to the group in October.

Ads from the super PAC accused her of dodging taxes on her “ritzy Washington, D.C., home,” voting for tax increases and “failing Michigan for years.”

Despite the spending, Stabenow easily captured nearly 60 percent of the vote. Yet the last-minute deluge earned ire from her campaign.

“The fact that secret money can be dumped into races like this, with no one knowing where the money came from until a month after the election, is awful for our democracy,” said Stabenow spokesman Cullen Schwarz.

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SOUTH JERSEYTed SiroisMark SullivanTom LarkinAnonymous Recent comment authors
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Mark Sullivan
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Mark Sullivan

Trump needs to conduct these activities because the entire MSM media, excluding Fox, is campaigning against him 24/7/365.

Didn’t Monica’s boyfriend’s wife and various criminal enterprises outspend Trump by almost 2-1?

CapitalistRoader
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CapitalistRoader

Why wouldn’t he get an early start on fund raising? Hillary outspent him two-to-one in 2016. The Dem’s are the party of big money. The President knows this and is attempting to get a jump on it. Of course the Dem candidate will outspend him in 2020 so it’s only rational that he starts fund raising now.

George Young
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George Young

Oh brother. We just 8 years of the Campaigner – in – Chief. Where was this journalistic rectal thermometer then. Just another article about 2000 words too long that merely takes another slap at Trump for something he far from initiated.

j stevenson
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j stevenson

The big difference between Trump and all the rest is his refusing to accept funds from lobbyists, so they don’t have the White House access they are used to. These are the donors who buy the presidency and are as pixxed off that he won the election as are the media and the Dems. Lobbyists have never been shut out of the WH and Trump has told them he is not for sale.

jan v
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jan v

all the lobbyists are running all our government agencies and all the career civil servants who know how to run the country have been fired. YOU think this is a good thing ? what a crock…

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Trump needs to be impeached and tossed in prison. Then have the key thrown away so he will never be free. Then he can see how it feels not to have freedom.

Mark Sullivan
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Mark Sullivan

Thank you for the usual insightful leftist low IQ Snowflake response.

barney
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hes not imprisoning them hes sending them back to their country chill tf out

SOUTH JERSEY
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SOUTH JERSEY

WHY DONT YOU HAVE FREEDOM?

Tom Larkin
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Tom Larkin

First, something positive. I was happy to learn of empirical information in article. BUT, the article was so slanted against President Trump as to be deemed fake news (“Perhaps Trump just lied.” (Two different issues)). The article mentions that President Trump raised over $67 million, but ended 2018 with $19 million. President Trump spent over $40 million 2016 and 2017. President Trump conducted 57 political rallies. The article notes the hats and T-shirts sold, but NEVER MENTIONS THE INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF REPUBLICAN SENATORS during a mid-term election that lost the House and the number of political rallies in… Read more »

Ted Sirois
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Ted Sirois

At least Trump is getting donations from willing donors. Fresh from his first election, Obama used billions of our children’s tax dollars to save thousands of union jobs in the car industry and bailed out the banks and many Wall Street businesses. This secured his source of reelection funds for his reelection four years later.

South Jersey
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South Jersey

TRUMP 2020; IS AN AMAZINGLY SMART MAN! VERY ORIGINAL & CREATIVE. I AM HAPPY TO HAVE HIS AS POTUS.

SOUTH JERSEY
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SOUTH JERSEY

THIS ARTICLE WAS OBVIOUSLY WRITTEN BY, A TRUMP-HATE-GROUP. THAT FEELS; IT IS NOT NORMAL TO BE SUCCESSFUL WITH YOUR OWN BRAND NAME. WHEN, IF FACT, IT IS NORMAL! >>>>> THIS IS >>> FAKE NEWS!!! <<<< ie: A PACK-OF-LIES; SPUN INTO; DEFAMATION OF CHARACTER. FOR A SINISTER-AGENDA OF; FASCIST DEMOCRATIC SOCIALIST, COUP D'ETAT

David
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David

Are you on some kind of drugs? Writing in caps makes me think that you are grumpy old fart or a uneducated hillbilly.