Updated Feb. 22, 2:55 p.m. ET
NEW YORK -- The super PACs have a new king, for the moment -- Texas tycoon Harold Simmons, according to a CBS News review of Federal Election Commission records.
Simmons and his company, Contran, gave another $5.6 million to super PACs last month, highlighted by his $5 million to "American Crossroads," the Karl Rove-founded, all-Republican backing group that is mostly sitting on its money.
Combined with his 2011 giving of $8.5 million, Simmons has donated at least $14.1 million to super PACs this campaign season, the latest fundraising disclosure reports to FEC show. That makes the Dallas billionaire currently the nation's largest super PAC donor. "American Crossroads" has received $12 million from Simmons, or 85 percent of his donations.
Simmons, who also gave six-figures to the pro-Gingrich, pro-Romney, and pro-Perry super PACs, is no stranger to Republican politics. Most notable was his $3 million in 2004 to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, which produced ads doubting the Vietnam War record of Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry.Continue »
UPDATED 3:39 p.m. ET
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich's faltering campaign is expected to get another shot in the arm, CBS News has learned.
Billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson plans to give another $10 million to the outside group backing the former Georgia lawmaker who is running behind former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, a source close to Adelson told CBS News.Continue »
NEW YORK - Foster Friess, a 71-year-old Wyoming-based investor and philanthropist who has given $2.5 million to Republicans over the past two decades, is Rick Santorum's ace in the hole.
Friess has been the biggest donor disclosed by the Super PAC supporting Santorum's run for the Republican presidential nomination, the Red White and Blue Fund (RWB).Continue »
As super PAC filings pour into the Federal Election Committee (FEC) on Tuesday, it's clear that the people filing them are savvy about getting around disclosure requirements. Several left-leaning super PACs have raised a significant amount of money without listing the individual names of any of their donors.
This is the new norm, now that the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United decision allows unlimited contributions from unions and corporations, as well as individuals, as long as they do not coordinate with the candidate they support. They have collectively spent more than $44 million during Campaign 2012, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
For example, the AFL-CIO super PAC received $2.2 million from... the AFL-CIO; the super PAC provided no breakdown of who gave the original money to the union. The union's super PAC also got $500,000 from each of the following unions: American Federation of Teachers, Unite Here Tip State and Local Fund, and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.Continue »
NEW YORK -- Today is the day the curtain is being drawn back on the "super PACs" spending unprecedented money on the presidential stage.
Super PACs, the independent political action committees formed to benefit a single candidate, are disclosing their 2011 end-of-year totals for both fundraising and spending, activities they can pursue without limits, as long as they are not coordinated with the candidates. The super PACs have collectively spent more than $44 million during Campaign 2012, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Of the 277 active super PACs registered with the Federal Election Commission, the one whose report that will perhaps bear the most scrutiny is that of the pro-Mitt Romney group "Restore Our Future." Disclosures already made to the FEC reveal that super PAC has spent $17 million -- primarily on TV advertisements attacking his leading rival for the Republican nomination, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. In its previous required FEC filing six months ago, Restore Our Future reported raising $12.2 million through June 2011. It did not spend significant sums until it blitzed the Iowa airwaves starting in late December with a slew of anti-Gingrich ads.
The former Massachusetts governor's actual campaign had spent more than the super PAC -- $29 million -- before the primaries in South Carolina and Florida, where it has dumped millions more. The campaign raised $56 million in 2011 and had $19 million cash-on-hand, it announced on January 11.Liberal super PACs exploit loophole to keep donors unknown Continue »
CBS News has confirmed that the wife of casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, Dr. Miriam Adelson, has given $5 million to a super PAC called Winning Our Future that is supporting former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
This donation brings the total for the Adelson couple to the Gingrich super PAC to $10 million. This also makes them the largest donor to date in the 2012 presidential campaign. The second largest known donor so far is a $2 million donation last year to President Obama's super PAC by Dreamworks executive Jeffrey Katzenberg.
With a $5 million donation to a group backing former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, billionaire casino owner Sheldon Adelson has just given the largest single donation that could directly aid a candidate in American history. But he does not want to talk about it.
Adelson has declined interview requests from CBS News and other major media outlets who want to ask him about his donation to a super PAC called "Winning Our Future," which has already spent more than half of the money to run ads slamming front-runner Mitt Romney in South Carolina, which holds its primary January 21.
The 78-year-old casino magnate is not concerned about a possible backlash he might get for the donation and is only interested in using the money to help Gingrich.
"It doesn't register to him what other people think about it...or what people write about it," a source close to Adelson told CBS News.Continue »
Rick Santorum's exit from the Senate in 2006 was a bruising defeat: he lost by 17 points. But his financial disclosure form shows that Santorum was cashing in on his Washington connections within a year.
Just two months after losing his seat, Santorum signed a contract with the Ethics and Public Policy Center which paid him $217,385 to be a "senior fellow." A month later he signed a lucrative deal with Fox News for $239,153. Two months later he signed up as a member of the board of directors for United Health Services based out of his homestate of Pennsylvania for stock options and director's fees worth over $395,000 a year. All those figures are based on his financial disclosure forms filed by his presidential campaign last year.
Santorum didn't have to look too far for more contracts. In July of 2007 he signed a deal with a former donor to his campaign, Pennsylvania-based Consol Energy. The company hired Santorum to consult and by 2011 was paying him $142,500. Employees at Consol and the company's political action committee gave over $58,000 in campaign contributions to Santorum's failed 2006 Senate campaign according to Federal Election Committee (FEC) records reviewed by CBS News.Continue »
There's been a lot written about the unlimited donations that corporations and wealthy donors can now give to the new campaign fundraising vehicle called the "Super PAC". This year super PAC ads hit the Iowa airwaves with gusto touting names like "Winning the Future" and "Our Destiny PAC". So how much did their millions in spending contribute to the final outcome in Iowa? It's a mixed bag, but it appears that spending millions on candidates for the caucuses did not always translate into stronger results.
For example, former Massachusetts Gov.Mitt Romney's victory was powered by $3.4 million in super PAC spending by "Restore Our Future" in Iowa, but former Senator Rick Santorum's super PAC "Red White and Blue Fund" spent only $537,200 yet he still earned a strong second place finish.
Meanwhile Texas Gov. Rick Perry's super PAC "Make Us Great Again" spent $3.7 million on its push for Perry between early November and late December yet the governor earned only 10 percent of the vote.
But Paul Ryan, FEC Program Director at Campaign Legal Center, a Washington-based non-profit, cautions against reading too much into the candidates' performance and the super PAC spending. Ryan is not related to the Republican lawmaker from Wisconsin.Continue »
Herman Cain's former employees at Godfather's Pizza recall him as an energetic and dynamic leader. They say he listened to new ideas and went out of his way to remember everyone's name and wanted his team to do the same.
Four times a year, Godfather's executives would hold corporate meetings with all 300 employees in the company's auditorium in its Omaha headquarters. According to two former employees, at each meeting, Cain would pick one executive at random and call them onto the stage to identify each employee by name. If the executive missed any names, they would be required to take that person to lunch.Continue »
Harper is a member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and a well-known Washington DC attorney who has been representing half a million Native Americans in a bitter class action lawsuit against the federal government that has stretched on for 12 years. The suit, known as Cobell vs. Kempthorne (named for current Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne), charges the government withheld and mismanaged billions of dollars in land royalties that should have been paid out to Native Americans for over a hundred years. At one point in the case, a federal judge was so exasperated with the agency's inability to secure Indian trust files that he ordered the entire Bureau of Indian Affairs to cease all use of email. Harper has called the administration's efforts to resolve the case "woefully insufficient."
As recently as July, Harper was registered as a federal lobbyist for two tribes seeking federal recognition, one in Alabama and another in Washington state. Often tribes seek federal recognition as a precursor to Indian gaming. Harper was a top adviser on Indian affairs for Obama during the campaign and is currently advising the transition.