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Donor profile: Michael Bloomberg

Quick stats on the biggest financial backers of Election 2012

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 Updated:

Ranking: 9

Total contributions to super PACs: $10 million*

  • $10 million to Independence USA PAC (pro-moderates and independents)
  • $50,000 to Women VOTE! (pro-Democratic)

Notable federal hard money and 527 contributions:

  • $25,000 to the Independence Party of Minnesota (2008)
  • $12,100 to Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn. (2006)
  • $10,000 to the National Leadership PAC (since 1999)
  • $8,200 to Rep. John Sweeney, R-N.Y. (since 2004)
  • $7,000 to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. (since 1998)

Notable state-level contributions (see here):

  • $2.2 million to the New York State Republican Party (since 2002)
  • $2.1 million to the Senate Republican Campaign Committee of New York (since 2000)
  • $175,000 to the Republican Assembly Campaign Committee of New York (since 2000)
  • $500,000 in support of California’s Proposition 29, which would have raised taxes on cigarettes and tobacco products to fund cancer research (2012)
  • $250,000 in support of California’s Proposition 86, which would have raised taxes on cigarettes and tobacco products (2006)
  • $250,000 in support of California’s Proposition 11, which created a state redistricting commission drawn from a voter pool (2008)
  • $250,000 to FairDistrictFlorida.org, which supported two Florida ballot measures that reformed the redistricting process (2010)

Corporate ownership: Bloomberg Inc.

Subsidiaries: Bloomberg LP

Total spent on federal lobbying (2007-2012): $4.4 million by Bloomberg LP; $830,000 by Mayors Against Illegal Guns

Lobbying issues: Gun control, regulation of radio and television broadcasting, publishing, general finance, trade, telecommunications and antitrust, among others

Biography:

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg — a supporter of stronger regulation of firearms — has seen his profile rise dramatically in the wake of the shooting at a Connecticut elementary school.

Bloomberg, a billionaire publisher, is the ninth biggest super PAC donor of the 2012 election cycle.

The Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-independent gave $10 million to super PACs, nearly all of it going to his own group, Independence USA. Bloomberg is the sole donor to the super PAC. It favors candidates who support gun control, marriage equality for same-sex couples and education reform.

Bloomberg also contributed $3.1 million to Mayors Against Illegal Guns Action Fund, a “social welfare” nonprofit he co-founded and co-chairs with Boston Mayor Thomas Menino.

Bloomberg’s vast wealth has created a challenge to the politically powerful National Rifle Association as the nation revisits the debate over gun control. On Dec. 14, 20-year-old Adam Lanza gunned down 20 school children and six adults in Newtown, Conn., before killing himself.

Bloomberg, now in his third term, ran as a Republican in in 2001 but left the party in 2007. After getting the city to change a law that limited mayors to two consecutive four-year terms in office, he ran for re-election as an independent in 2009, spending $108 million of his own funds and securing a surprisingly narrow 4.6 percent margin of victory.

Bloomberg is a fiscal conservative and liberal on social issues. He supports marriage for same-sex couples and abortion rights.

“Being a fiscal conservative is not about slashing programs that help the poor, or improve health care, or ensure a social safety net,” he said in a speech at the 2007 British Conservative Party Conference, adding, “Fiscal conservatives have hearts too, but we also insist on using our brains.”

On Nov. 1, he endorsed President Barack Obama for re-election because he wanted someone who would “lead on climate change.”

As mayor, Bloomberg has focused on education, economic development and public health, making news by banning the sale of soft drinks larger than 16 ounces in restaurants and similar venues throughout the city.

Bloomberg, 70, was born and raised in the suburbs of Boston and graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 1964 with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. He received his M.B.A. from Harvard Business School two years later. Bloomberg was hired by investment bank Salomon Brothers and eventually headed the firm’s information systems department, but was fired during a 1981 merger. He used his $10 million severance package to start Bloomberg LP, a financial news and data service.

Bloomberg LP is well known for its “Bloomberg Terminal,” a software system typically paired with a distinctive monitor and keyboard that provides real-time financial information and stock quotes. The terminal also has an electronic trading platform. In addition, Bloomberg LP operates several media outlets, including Bloomberg News, Bloomberg Businessweek and Bloomberg TV.

The company has been immensely profitable, posting revenues near $8 billion for 2012, according to the Financial Times.

Michael Bloomberg is worth $22 billion, according to Forbes, and gives away hundreds of millions of dollars each year through Bloomberg Philanthropies. The charity has donated more than $2.4 billion to the arts, public health initiatives, government innovation, education and the environment, including a $50 billion donation to the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign in July.

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.