The 20 Biggest Donors of the 2012 Election (So Far)
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Throughout the year, we'll be keeping tabs on these superdonors (many of them couples who double up or spread out their gifts). As primary season heats up, here's a list of the current top 20 political givers based on donation data collected by the Center for Responsive Politics.
1. SHELDON AND MIRIAM ADELSON (LAS VEGAS)
With a net worth of more than $21 billion, casino mogul Sheldon is listed by Forbes as the eighth-richest person in America. His recent $5 million donation to the pro-Newt Gingrich super-PAC Winning Our Future has secured his spot as the 2012 election cycle's most generous donor (for now). In keeping with Gingrich's scorched-earth primary strategy, Adelson's massive gift is funding a round of harsh attack ads against Mitt Romney. The chairman and CEO of the Las Vegas Sands casino chain, Adelson previously contributed to conservative outside-spending groups, including the now-defunct Freedom's Watch and Gingrich's shuttered 527 group, American Solutions Winning the Future. In a 2008 Mother Jones article, a Nevada Republican operative described him as "a very aggressive, strong-minded, passionate person"; in another MoJo story, a union leader called the famously anti-labor Adelson "probably one of the most litigious people on the planet."
Total giving for 2012 race: $5,224,800
• Giving to outside-spending groups: $5,010,000
• Giving to candidates and parties: $214,800
2. BOB AND DOYLENE PERRY (HOUSTON)
Bob is the founder of Perry Homes, one of America's top homebuilders. He's worth a reported $650 million and is a longtime Republican power player, though "not a schmoozer at all." During the 2004 election, Perry gave nearly $4.5 million to the John Kerry-smearing group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. He has also bankrolled every member of the Texas Supreme Court, which ruled for him in a defective-home lawsuit. (He was ultimately ordered to pay $51 million.) In the 2012 election cycle, the Perrys have given $2.5 million to Karl Rove's American Crossroads super-PAC, $500,000 to the pro-Romney super-PAC Restore Our Future, and $250,000 to the Republican Governors Association.
Total giving for 2012 race: $3,337,600
• Giving to outside-spending groups:$3,250,000
• Giving to candidates and parties:$87,600
4. JERRY AND MARGARET PERENCHIO (LOS ANGELES)