Super PACs spent July beefing up for the fall campaign. Many groups filed new disclosure reports this week, leaving a paper trail littered with big checks from big names.
Democrats dominate the list of notable July donors, as there have simply been more Democratic dollars flowing to that type of outside group this year. There's still plenty of conservative money out there; it's just that more of it is going toward nonprofits, which don't have to disclose their donors. Here are a handful of July super PAC donations that stood out.
STEYER: Climate-change activist Tom Steyer gave the biggest super PAC donation in this month's reports: $7.5 million to his own group, NextGen Climate. Steyer, who made his fortune as a successful hedge-fund manager, also spread some of that money around. NextGen gave a half-million dollars to Senate Majority PAC, the biggest Senate Democratic super PAC, and $150,000 to the League of Conservation Voters Victory Fund, another environmental group.
BLOOMBERG: Michael Bloomberg is staying plenty active in his post-mayoral days. Aside from funding his gun-control-focused super PAC, Bloomberg has written checks to Senate Majority PAC and super PACs that backed GOP Sens. Thad Cochran and Lindsey Graham during their primary battles. Most recently, the former New York City mayor donated $2 million to Women Vote!—the largest contribution the EMILY's List super PAC has ever received. Only Steyer has given more money to super PACs this election season.
SOROS: Democratic financier George Soros's checkbook has been active this summer: The prolific donor gave $500,000 apiece to House Majority PAC and the League of Conservation Voters Victory Fund. But that million dollars wasn't his family's only big outlay so far this summer. Soros's daughter, Andrea Soros Colombel, gave $250,000 to Planned Parenthood Votes.
SINGER: Hedge-fund manager Paul Singer is the top super PAC donor on the Republican side so far this election cycle, and he kept the money flowing last month. The Elliott Management founder dished out $750,000 to the conservative super PAC Ending Spending Action Fund, which has spent a total of nearly $4.5 million in five different races in 2014. Singer also gave $100,000 to the GOP's best-known spending juggernaut, American Crossroads. Singer has now contributed a total of $1.4 million to Ending Spending and $1.35 million to Crossroads this cycle.
MOSTYN: Amber Mostyn is half of Texas's biggest Democratic power couple. The Houston lawyer and her husband Steve were among Democrats' biggest super PAC donors in 2012, when the The New York Times Magazine used the story of the Mostyns' $1 million gift to Priorities USA Action to explain the role and rise of the pro-Obama super PAC. In July, Amber Mostyn gave $250,000 to the Planned Parenthood super PAC, matching the quarter-million she gave the committee in 2013.
BERGMAN: After giving $1 million to American Crossroads in 2012, Jay Bergman, the owner of Illinois-based Petco Petroleum, remained relatively quiet on the outside-money front. But In July, he ponied up to Crossroads again, cutting a $500,000 check to the super PAC. Bergman gives mostly to Republicans. But he casts himself as an "independent," and he's contributed to Illinois Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn and his predecessor, Rod Blagojevich, in the past.
SABAN: Billionaire Univision owner Haim Saban has already pledged his "full might" to Hillary Clinton if she runs for president in 2016, but he's keeping busy in the meantime. Saban gave $250,000 to Senate Majority PAC in July.
SCHMIDT: Another $250,000 donation came to Senate Majority PAC via Google Chairman Eric Schmidt. Unlike most of the donors on this list, Schmidt eschewed super PACs in 2012, but this is his second major contribution of 2014. Back in June, Schmidt gave $100,000 to the super PAC formed to support Democratic Sen. Mark Warner's reelection in Virginia this year.
ANGELOS: Other Democratic donors may have given more money than the $100,000 Senate Majority PAC got from the Law Offices of Peter Angelos. But few other donors have jobs as cool. When he's not financing Democratic super PACs, Angelos can be found bankrolling free agent signings as the owner of the Baltimore Orioles.
OTHER PACS: Some of the biggest donations made in July went from one PAC to another. In addition to the donations Steyer's group made, Senate Majority PAC also contributed $350,000 to the League of Conservation Voters super PAC last month. And two of the biggest donations to House Majority PAC came from the Blue Dog PAC and the New Democrat Coalition PAC, two groups representing moderate or conservative House Democrats. They combined to give $350,000 to House Majority PAC.
Meanwhile, one of the biggest names on House Majority PAC's July rolls was among the smaller donors. Radio host Garrison Keillor contributed $50 to the group at the end of the month.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Adam Wollner is an analyst for National Journal Hotline. Previously, he covered politics as an intern for NPR and the Center for Public Integrity. A native Wisconsinite, Wollner graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2013 with a bachelor degree in journalism and political science.