A Billionaire's Game: New Super PAC Date Shows Few Donors, Growing Footprint

Hedge fund manager Kenneth Griffin

Billionaires say the darndest things.

On Tuesday, active Super PACs were required to file fundraising reports with the Federal Election Commission.

The results are could be described as shocking if they were actually at all surprising. 

As everyone knows, Super PACs have played a significant role in shaping the Republican primary campaign 

Super PAC money first crushed Newt Gingrich, then kept him in the race, and is now perhaps leaving him dry.  It’s helped Mitt Romney outspend all of his rivals combined, and may provide just enough fuel to push him over the finish line.  A Washington Post analysis shows that Super PACs have been disproportionately responsible for a particularly negative campaign. 

And, as most people know, a tiny number of extremely wealthy donors has is behind their fundraising. 

The pro-Romney Super PAC Restore Our Future received nearly half its February take from just one person—homebuilder Bob Perry.  Perry has given $6.6 million to Super PACs, $4 million of it to Restore Our Future.  But, that ranks him a mere third among super-elite Super PAC donors.  The top two donors (Sheldon Adelson and Harold Simmons) have combined for nearly $32 million in contributions.

This perfectly consistent with a recent Demos and U.S. PIRG study "Auctioning Democracy" showing that a significant majority of itemized Super PAC dollars raised through the end of 2011 came from an extremely tiny minority of wealthy donors.

In fact, fully 93% of itemized individual contributions came in contributions of at least $10,000—from just 23 out of every 10 million Americans.