Center wins first Pulitzer!

Black lung investigation honored

Get more award-winning investigations:

Daily Disclosure: Smaller super PACs target down-ticket races

Super PACs report donors for quarter

By

 Updated:

A new batch of super PAC donor information arrived at the Federal Election Commission Monday, and among the top contributors was the nonprofit Americans for Limited Government, profiled by the Daily Disclosure Monday.

The organization, which released a Web video implying that Vice President Joe Biden was on drugs during last week’s vice presidential debate, gave 86 percent of the $1.7 million received by Now or Never PAC, which has spent most of its money opposing the candidacy of Democrat Tammy Duckworth.

Duckworth is running for U.S. House in Illinois’ 8th District. Super PACs report donors to the FEC monthly or quarterly. Quarterly reports were due  by the end of the day Monday.

Super PACs that file quarterly are generally less well-known. For example, Restore Our Future, which favors Mitt Romney, brought in $9.4 million in August alone. American Bridge 21st Century, a liberal super PAC that acts as a sort of opposition research arm for Democrats and produces anti-Romney Web videos, for the third quarter brought in $2.1 million.

Notable contributors include the American Bridge 21st Century Foundation, a nonprofit that does not disclose donors, the National Education Association and top Democratic donor Barbara Stiefel.

America’s Next Generation, primarily an anti-President Barack Obama super PAC, was funded mostly by small donors, who helped contribute to its $1.1 million take in the third quarter.

The Susan B. Anthony List, an anti-abortion nonprofit, recently created a super PAC, Women Speak Out PAC. Its quarterly report shows that it is funded almost entirely by Republican donor and investor Virginia James of New Jersey, a major donor to free-market super PAC Club for Growth Action, who gave $200,000.

A Republican super PAC targeting young voters, Crossroads Generation, only had two donors July through September: super PAC American Crossroads, co-founded by Karl Rove, and the Republican State Leadership Committee. Crossroads Generation was launched by those two groups along with the College Republican National Committee.

Many of the super PACs that filed reports Monday night are race-specific. The reports revealed that these super PACs are often out-of-state donors whose connections in the states they target are unclear.

Freedom PAC, which supports Republican Rep. Connie Mack’s run for U.S. Senate against Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, received major funding from Texas super donor Bob Perry, who gave $250,000, Wyoming super donor Foster Friess, who gave $50,000, and an organization called Americans for Liberty and Prosperity.

Americans for Liberty and Prosperity is a political committee with backing from Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Florida, among others.

Florida Freedom PAC, a liberal super PAC focused on Florida races for Congress and helping Obama, received all $2.9 million of its third-quarter support from the Service Employees International Union.

A third Florida-specific super PAC, Treasure Coast Jobs Coalition, took in $1.1 million. The super PAC supports Republican Rep. Allen West, running in Florida’s 18th District. The super PAC received a $1 million contribution from New Jersey-based Richard Roberts of Mutual Pharmacy Co.

The quarterly filing report from Maine Freedom, the super PAC backing the GOP candidate for U.S. Senate in Maine, Charles Summers, showed only four donors: Paul George Coulombe of White Rock Distillery and his trust gave $100,000 each. The distillery operates a facility in Maine, though Coulombe is not based there.

W.E. Bosarge of Quantlab Financial gave $100,000. He, too, is not based in Maine, though he owns a home there.

And billionaire John Malone of Liberty Media rounded out the group with another $100,000. Malone is the biggest private landowner in the country, including more than 1 million acres in Maine, according to The New York Times.

The tight race for U.S. Senate in Virginia heated up with the entrance of Independence Virginia, a super PAC supporting former Republican Sen. George Allen. It took in $1.1 million, with $1 million from super donor Perry and $10,000 from super donor Friess.

Union super PACs were funded by small donors and union treasury funds:

  • NEA Advocacy Fund, the super PAC of the National Education Association was funded entirely by the union itself, to the tune of $3.3 million;
  • UAW Education Fund, the super PAC of the United Auto Workers, also received 100 percent of its $4.5 million in contributions during the third quarter from the union itself;
  • Service Employees International Union PEA-Federal, the SEIU’s super PAC, brought in $7.1 million in contributions during the third quarter. Its contributions were entirely from small donors giving less than $200 apiece.

In other outside spending news:

  • Conservative nonprofit American Future Fund released two ads opposing Obama: “Abound” and “Florida Homeowners,” which also attacks Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson.
     
  • AFSCME PEOPLE, the political action committee of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, released two spots opposing Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Calif., and one opposing Rep. Francisco “Quico” Canseco, R-Texas.
     
  • Conservative super PAC Ending Spending Action Fund released “Work Ethic” opposing Obama and targeted at Wisconsin voters. “Opposition” opposes former Sen. Bob Kerrey who is running for the office in Nebraska.
     
  • The nonprofit League of Conservation Voters and Democratic super PAC Majority PAC co-produced “We Can’t Risk Jeff Flake,” an ad opposing the Republican congressman running for U.S. Senate in Arizona. The League of Conservation Voters also released “Wrong for New York,” opposing Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle, R-N.Y.
     
  • SEIU PEA-Federal, the union’s super PAC, reported spending $2 million supporting Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate, House and president.
     
  • The National Republican Senatorial Committee reported spending $4.2 million opposing Senate Democrats.
     
  • Pro-Romney super PAC Restore Our Future reported spending $1.4 million on anti-Obama ads.

Who paid for that political ad? You might be surprised by the answer. Email us and we will try to find out. Describe the advertisement — was it mean or nice? Will it affect your vote? When and where did it run and what were the names of the candidates? And PLEASE tell us what the disclaimer at the end says, and we will check it out.