Photograph by Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images.
How's this for a sign of the rise of the Super PAC: Restore Our Future had more cash on hand heading into 2012 than Mitt Romney, the candidate the technically independent political action committee is backing.
That's one of the many revelations coming out of Wednesday's FEC filings from political action committees. Looking through the documents, it's clear that both President Obama and his GOP rivals are seeing support in the millions from Super PACs, nearly all of which have raised most of their money from big-dollar donations.
Politico took a look at the pro-Romney Restore Our Future, which disclosed their fundraising just before midnight, after the spectacle of the Florida primary wound down. The group had $23.6 million as of the end of 2011. Romney, meanwhile, has about $20 million on hand for his campaign.
The Super PAC supporting Newt Gingrich said it had raised $2.1 million by the end of 2011, although that total doesn't include the $10 million donation billionaire Sheldon Adelson and his wife made in January. The group backing Obama reported having $4.4 million.
Ninety-eight percent of donations to the Romney Super PAC were $25,000 or more, and included several $1-million checks from the likes of: Edward Conard, a former top executive for Bain Capital; hedge fund executive Robert Mercer; John Paulson, the founder of Paulson & Company, which bet against the subprime mortgage market; and Tulsa-based investment firm Rooney Holdings Inc.
The New York Times has a great chart with profiles of the major donors to each significant candidate-supporting Super PAC (and, yes, they included Colbert's Super PAC, too). With the exception of former candidate Herman Cain (supported by the 9-9-9 Fund, which mostly had donations of $200 and under), each candidate benefits from the backing of a PAC that relies on big-dollar donations.