News Column

Fla. Money Has Big Effect on National Politics

Nov. 6, 2012

Marcia Heroux Pounds, Sun Sentinel

capital at the Capitol

In a review of two major Super PACs to elect the next president, two Palm Beach billionaires are top contributors to each of the opposing campaigns.

West Palm Beach-based Oxbow Carbon Corp., a $4 billion company founded by William Koch, is the largest business contributor to Restore Our Future, which supports Mitt Romney. Oxbow contributed $3.75 million to the Super PAC, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Koch, who lives in Palm Beach, gave another $250,000 individually.

Koch and his even wealthier brothers, David and Charles, are long-time conservative supporters of political causes.

Another Palm Beach billionaire, Slim-Fast creator S. Daniel Abraham, contributed $1.2 million to Priorities USA Action, a super PAC that is supporting President Barack Obama's re-election, according to the Center's website, opensecrets.org.

Many contributions to Priorities USA Action are $50,000 or less, including donations by a billiards lounge in Miami Beach and the Florida Pipe Traders Council in Opa Locka.

Some local private equity and venture capital firms are large contributors to the Super PAC supporting Romney.

Boca Raton-based Sun Capital Advisors' co-CEOs Rodger Krouse and Marc Leder have contributed a total of $700,000 since 2011 to Restore Our Future, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

That's just the Super PACs, which can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money in support of a cause, but make no direct contributions to candidates or parties. The largest contributions to PACS, which have contribution limits, ranged from $619,000 to $1 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Top contributors to Obama from PACs are: The University of California, Microsoft Corp., Google, U.S. government and Harvard University. Biggest contributors to Romney from PACs are: Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Credit Suisse Group.

None of the individuals or company contributors returned calls on Monday seeking comment on their Super PAC or campaign contributions.

The 2012 election has been the most expensive election in U.S. history, costing an estimated $6 billion, the Center for Responsive Politics said.

Super PACS, which have favored Romney and other Republican candidates, are raising the bar on political fund-raising. As of Nov. 5, super PACs reported donations of $661 million and spending of $629 million.

Restore Our Future has spent $88.57 million against Obama and $14.08 million in support of Romney, according to OpenSecrets.org, the website of the Center for Responsive Politics.



Source: (c)2012 the Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) Distributed by MCT Information Services


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