February 23, 2012- The presidential primary season is being brought to you by a handful of multimillionaires and companies who have propped up the candidates with enormous donations to their “super PACs.” Just two dozen or so individuals, couples and companies have given more than 80 percent of the money collected by super PACs, or $54 million, according to disclosure forms released on Monday.
Freed of nearly all regulations or good sense by Citizens United and other court decisions, the super PACs are raising money in ludicrously large sums. The $10 million from Sheldon and Miriam Adelson to Winning Our Future, which has sustained Newt Gingrich’s trailing campaign, is the biggest single donation to a candidate. But every candidate now has his own millionaire supporter, and the concentration of wealth in the campaign is growing.
-By Fredreka Schouten, Gregory Korte and Christopher Schnaars
February 22, 2012- WASHINGTON – Five wealthy people, led by Dallas industrialist Harold Simmons and Las Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, have donated nearly $1 of every $4 flowing to the super PACs raising unlimited money in this year's presidential race, a USA TODAY analysis shows.
Those donations have helped new Republican-leaning outside groups swamp Democratic-friendly super PACs in fundraising — money that is used largely for attack ads. The large sums also have rejuvenated the underfunded campaigns of principal challengers to former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney in the race for the Repulican nomination.
This story is part of a larger profile appearing in the March 12th, 2012 issue of FORBES magazine. The complete cover story will appear online beginning Wednesday, February 22nd.
-By Steven Bertoni
February 21, 2012- Sheldon Adelson plays as stubbornly in politics as he does in business. So the criticisms that he’s trying to personally buy the presidential election for Newt Gingrich are met with a roll of the eyes. “Those people are either jealous or professional critics,” Adelson tells me during his first interview since he and his wife began funneling $11 million, with another $10 million injection widely expected, into the former speaker’s super PAC, Winning Our Future. “They like to trash other people. It’s unfair that I’ve been treated unfair—but it doesn’t stop me. I might give $10 million or $100 million to Gingrich.”
Adelson, the 78-year-old CEO of casino giant Las Vegas Sands, certainly can afford to: With a net worth of roughly $25 billion, that $11 million, which jolted Gingrich’s flatlining presidential bid back to life, equates to 0.044% of his fortune. For someone with a $1 million net worth, the equivalent would be $440, or a two-night stay at Adelson’s Venetian casino. Adelson could personally fund an entire presidential campaign—say, $1 billion or so—and not even notice.
February 21, 2012- Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), a Tea Party favorite who made an unsuccessful run for president, has just encountered a slight complication in her re-election race to the House.
A judicial panel in Minnesota has released a new Congressional map for the state. The map shows that Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann's hometown of Stillwater, which was previously near the border of her heavily Republican 6th District, has now been put into the St. Paul-based 4th District of Democratic Rep. Betty McCollum.
Justice Ginsburg knows the Citizens United decision was a mistake. Now she appears to be ready to speak truth to power.
-By Richard L. Hasen
February 20, 2012- In 18 years on the Supreme Court, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has written more than 200 opinions on a number of important topics, including major opinions on everything from copyright law to abortion rights to employment discrimination. But in the area of campaign finance, she’s authored only one inconsequential two-paragraph concurring opinion—in one of the Supreme Court’s recent cases striking down parts of the McCain-Feingold law—in which she distanced herself from a more far-reaching dissent of Justice Stevens. She’s been a reliable vote to uphold reasonable campaign-finance laws, but this has hardly been her signature issue.
Last week, however, Justice Ginsburg issued a short statement that hinted she is ready to speak out more boldly. She, like many Americans, appears concerned with the rise of super PACs and the disturbing role money is playing in the 2012 campaign season since the Supreme Court’s controversial decision in Citizens United v. FEC. Justice Ginsburg likely won’t have the votes to overturn Citizens United, but she soon will be in a position to expose the disingenuousness at the ruling’s core.
Pro Publica has created an interactive chart which shows the share of all contributions given by the top ten donors to each of the 12 largest super PACs, through Jan. 31. Some corporations are affiliated with individual donors, such as the Contran Corporation, which is owned by Harold Simmons. Some donors, such as Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, Yasmin and Oren Lukatz, and Sivan Ochshorn gave individually but are all members of a single family. Hover over each super PAC's name to see the total raised by its top ten donors, and hover over each donor to see how much they gave.