If super PACs are indeed saving Mitt Romney early in the 2012 election (as we posited Tuesday morning), he’s got a lot of very wealthy people to thank for it.
About four dozen donors and families have given at least $1 million to super PACs this election cycle, with three-quarters of them giving to the GOP.
Combined, these four dozen donors have provided $130 million of the $308 million super PACs have raised this cycle (more than 40 percent) — a reflection of how much these outside groups are funded by extremely wealthy donors.
And that goes double on the GOP side, where nearly half of the $228 million raised by super PACs has come from about three dozen million-dollar donors.
Million-dollar donors have contributed $111 million out of $218 million raised by super PACs this election cycle, while million-dollar Democratic donors have contributed less than one-fourth, $19 million out of $80 million raised.
(Above is a look at every donor or family who has contributed at least $1 million to super PACs during the 2012 campaign.)
Topping our list, of course, is the family of Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, which has combined to give more than $36 million (including funds given by their children). Much of it has gone to a super PAC supporting Newt Gingrich in the Republican presidential primary, but more recently the couple gave $10 million to the top super PAC supporting Mitt Romney.
Two other families or donors — Harold and Annette Simmons and Houston home builder Bob Perry — have given more than $10 million, both to Republicans. Simmons and his wife have spread more than $17 million around to various GOP super PACs, including through Simmons’s business, Contran Corporation. Perry, similarly, has given to several different groups, for a combined total of just more than $10 million.
The top Democratic donors so far are Chicago media mogul Fred Eychaner, who has given $2.65 million to super PACs, and writer and philanthropist Amy Goldman, who has given $2.25 million. They are the only two Democrats among the top 13 super PAC donors.
Two other Democrats — Dreamworks chief executive Jeffrey Katzenberg and hedge fund manager James Simons — have given $2 million each.
The point? Democrats are making the case that Romney is an extremely wealthy man propped up by extremely wealthy super PAC donors. And at least for now, with super PACs carrying the load for Romney in the early ad wars, there’s a lot of truth to that.