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Super PACs Make It Rain

The American Prospect

It’s no secret that super PACs skew toward the wealthy set. However, a new study from Demos (editor's note: Demos is The American Prospect's publishing partner) and U.S. PIRG highlights how few people are running the money game this election cycle and how secret some of their contributions can be. Since the birth of super PACs in 2010 until the end of 2011, 93 percent of the itemized funds raised by super PACs from individuals were more than $10,000. That’s only 726 people. To put that in perspective, more people voted for perennial Democratic candidate Vermin Supreme in the New Hampshire primary this January—831—than contributed more than $10,000 to a super PAC in 2010-2011. Only 35 individuals have donated more than $1 million.

Read the report: Auctioning Democracy: The Rise of Super PACs and the 2012 Election

Although wealthy individuals accounted for 56 percent—or $100 million worth—of super PAC donations, corporations and nonprofits, which were freed by the Supreme Court in the Citizens United decision to make unlimited contributions to these organizations, also had their say. More than $30 million of super PAC funds have been raised by for-profit businesses—17 percent of total super PAC fundraising. But there is still 6.4 percent of total super PAC funds that are untraceable, coming from 510(c)(4) nonprofit organizations, other super PACs, or shell corporations that can get away without reporting individual contributions.