The top three donors to super PACs this political cycle are all "one-percenter" progressives, and they've funneled millions to liberal causes, according to an analysis of data from Sunlight Foundation's Real-Time Federal Campaign Finance tracker.
The Sunlight Foundation summed up contributions to super PACs and "hybrid" super PACs from January 1, 2013 to the end of June. They did not include donations from unions, corporations, other political groups, or contributions "earmarked" towards a separate committee.
The Top 3 Donors are green-energy proponent and billionaire philanthropist Tom Steyer, billionaire and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Chicago media baron Fred Eychaner.
Tom Steyer, a billionaire California hedge-fund manager, donated just over $20 million this season, and has pledged to spend $100 million for candidates that will combat "climate change" and against those governors and lawmakers that oppose his views. Steyer runs the NextGen super PAC which aims to elect pro-environment candidates. Steyer gave $5 million to the Senate Majority PAC, about $1.8 million to the CE Action Committee and $13.4 million to the NextGen Climate Action Committee.
This, despite the fact that the NY Times reported: "Over the past 15 years, Mr. Steyer's fund, Farallon Capital Management, has pumped hundreds of millions of dollars into companies that operate coal mines and coal-fired power plants from Indonesia to China, records and interviews show."
"Yes, the influential activist spearheading the fight against the Keystone XL pipeline has made a fortune in oil investments. Yes, he's invested in a rival pipeline that would compete with Keystone. But no, Tom Steyer says, there's nothing untoward about his motives," reported The Canadian Press.
"I think Mitt Romney and I share the same income bracket- although I guess we're never going to know. But the reason I'm here tonight is that Mitt Romney and I don't share the same vision for the future, especially when it comes to energy," Tom Steyer to the DNC in 2012.
Michael Bloomberg, former mayor of New York City, donated about $9.4 million this season. He became famous for his many progressive measures as mayor, including an attempt to ban large sodas, stop people from smoking and getting fat, and strict anti-gun measures. He has pledged to spend $40 million to fight the NRA, Reuters reported.
So far this season, he's given $6.4 million to Independence USA, the super PAC he runs., $2.5 million to the Senate Majority PAC, and smaller amounts to Americans for Responsible Solutions, Mississippi Conservatives and West Main Street Values. Bloomberg views his pet political issues with the fervor of a crusader, as can be seen from the following quote, given to Mayors Against Illegal Guns in April 2014:
"I am telling you if there is a God, when I get to heaven I'm not stopping to be interviewed. I am heading straight in. I have earned my place in heaven. It's not even close."
Fred Eychaner, a Chicago area media baron and the most reclusive member of this list, is CEO and President of Newsweb Corp. He has spent $5.6 supporting liberal super PACs this cycle: $4 million to the Senate Majority PAC, $1.5 million to the House Majority PAC and $150,000 to Battleground Texas. In 2012, Eychaner gave about $14 million to Democratic super PACs. The company Eychaner owns, Newsweb, contributed $4,777,900 in 2014 to Democrats running in state elections.
A gay man, Eychaner spends his money supporting groups that promote LGBT issues.
From The National Journal:
"At the end of the day, are we better off with Republicans or Democrats?" [Eychaner] said. In his mind, it's the latter, so he refrains from donating to Republicans, no matter how moderate...."[Reagan-era conservatives] have done the same dehumanization of progressives of all kinds," he said... "They race-bait people of color as they try to obstruct their voting rights. They are trying to again interfere with a woman's right to free choice."
Although media attention (and an incoherent Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev.) have decried the political donations and influence of the conservative billionaire Koch brothers, an analysis of political donations from 1989 to 2013 finds that 13 of the top 20 donor groups gave their money to Democrats and only 3 gave predominantly to Republicans. The Koch brothers are in 59th place on the list, compiled by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.