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Donor profile: Robert Mercer

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 Updated:

Ranking: 16

Total contributions to super PACs: $5.5 million*

  • $2 million to American Crossroads (pro-Republican)
  • $1 million to Restore Our Future (pro-Mitt Romney)
  • $920,000 to Prosperity First (pro-Republican)
  • $615,000 to Club for Growth Action (pro-conservative), including $15,000 daughter from Rebekah Mercer
  • $439,000 to Republican Super PAC (pro-Republican)
  • $250,000 to Freedom PAC (pro-Connie Mack; pro-Allen West)
  • $200,000 to National Horizon (pro-Republican)
  • $50,000 to Coalition for American Values PAC (pro-Republican), all of which is from Rebekah Mercer

Federal hard money and 527 contributions:

  • $30,800 to Republican National Committee (2012)
  • $30,400 to National Republican Senatorial Committee
  • $25,000 to Club for Growth PAC (2007-2011)
  • $20,000 to Republican Leadership Committee (2011)
  • $10,000 to Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.)
  • $7,200 to Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.)
  • $5,000 to Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.)
  • $4,800 to Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.)
  • $1,700 to former Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd’s presidential campaign in 2007

State contributions:

  • Mercer donated more than $50,000 to New York Republican Rick Lazio’s unsuccessful gubernatorial campaign in the 2010 cycle and $14,000 to his running mate, Greg Edwards. He also gave $10,000 to Republican Kenneth Blackwell’s failed 2006 gubernatorial bid in Ohio.

Corporate name: Renaissance Technologies Corp.

Total spent on lobbying (2007-2012): $1.6 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Lobbying issues:  Securities and investments, treatment of taxation of capital gains, carried interest, tax issues affecting hedge funds and the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill, according to federal lobbying records.

Family: Daughter, Rebekah Mercer

Biography:

Robert Mercer, 65, is co-CEO of Renaissance Technologies LLC, a $15 billion hedge fund. The IBM language-recognition whiz-turned-financier brought home $125 million in 2011, making him the 16th highest-earning hedge fund manager, according to Forbes.

Renaissance Technologies is based in New York City, with additional locations in London and East Setauket, N.Y., where Mercer lives.

Bloomberg ranked Renaissance Institutional Futures — one of the firm’s top funds — as the 26th top performing large hedge fund in 2011.

The firm has 275 employees, many of whom have given large amounts of money to both Republican and Democratic groups, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Mercer’s 2011 earnings were trumped by those of James Simon, Renaissance’s founder and current chairman. Simon — a financial supporter of Democratic politics — earned $2.1 billion in 2011, though he officially retired from Renaissance the previous year, according to Forbes.

Mercer is the most prolific of Renaissance donors. In July, he gave $1 million to the pro-Romney super PAC, Restore Our Future and another $1 million to American Crossroads, the super PAC founded by conservative strategists Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie.

In April, Mercer gave $500,000 to super PAC Prosperity First, which accounted for nearly 80 percent of the first $635,500 it raised. By November, he had given the group another $420,000, accounting for three-fourths of its total receipts through Nov. 26.

In early September, Prosperity First made its first independent expenditures, touting Republican House candidate Randy Altschuler in Mercer's home district in eastern Long Island. The conservative super PAC spent $1.1 million in Altschuler's race, though he ultimately lost to Democrat Tim Bishop. It also spent about $23,000 on ads against New York Democratic House candidate Sean Patrick Maloney, who defeated Republican Nan Hayworth on  Election Day.

Mercer was a major donor to the Republican Super PAC, a group started by GOP lawyer Jim Bopp, who has made a career out of challenging campaign finance regulations. Mercer's $439,000 accounted for two-thirds of the money that Bopp's super PAC raised through Nov. 26.

Last updated: Jan. 30, 2013

*2011-2012 election cycle. Source: Center for Responsive Politics and Center for Public Integrity analysis of Federal Election Commission records. Totals include contributions from individuals, family members and corporations that are controlled by the individual super donor.