The Washington Post

In Simmons, GOP loses a very generous backer

The Republican Party lost one of its most generous backers Saturday with the death of Dallas billionaire Harold Simmons, who was also a top patron of independent political groups on the right.

Simmons, whose death was reported by the Dallas Morning News, donated more than $25 million to Republican candidates, parties and their allies in the past three election cycles, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan research organization.

The industrialist was one of the top givers to American Crossroads, the super PAC co-founded by Karl Rove, and also boosted the efforts of super PACs working on behalf of Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Rick Perry in the 2012 presidential campaign.

“Harold Simmons was a true Texas giant, rising from humble beginnings and seizing the limitless opportunity for success we so deeply cherish in our great state," Perry, Texas's Republican governor, said in a statement.

Simmons, who was 82, told the Wall Street Journal last year that he was intent on doing whatever it took to prevent President Obama’s reelection. “Obama is the most dangerous American alive ... because he would eliminate free enterprise in this country,” he said.

Simmons's current net worth is estimated around $10 billion, according to Forbes.

His death follows that of another Texan GOP megadonor, Bob Perry, who passed away in April.

It remains to be seen whether Simmons’ wife or children will continue his pattern of political giving. The Center for Public Integrity reported in February that his foundation, under the leadership of two of his daughters, gave money to Planned Parenthood and public broadcasting.

Just this month, a Dallas organization that serves the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community received a $600,000 gift from the Harold Simmons Foundation, the Morning News reported.


Matea Gold is a national political reporter for The Washington Post, covering money and influence.



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