Follow The Money

Top Donors Use Super PACs To Sidestep Money Limits To Candidates

Nineteen wealthy Republicans gave presidential hopeful Mitt Romney the maximum legal contribution — and also sent between $100,000 and $1 million each to an independent committee supporting the former Massachusetts governor.

The finding comes in a new report looking at overlap between donor lists for Romney's campaign and the super PAC Restore Our Future.

In all, the report shows 55 donors maxed out to Romney and also gave to the super PAC. Those 55 accounted for more than half of the super PAC's early money.

Under a Watergate-era law donors can give a presidential campaign up to $2,500.

Super PACs were created last year in the wake of the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision. Their donors have no contribution limits.

President Obama also benefited from the rise of the super PAC.

From the report:

And Romney's supporters are not the only ones to be milking the new campaign finance landscape for all it's worth.

According to the new analysis, during the second quarter of 2011, nine individuals donated to President Barack Obama's re-election campaign as well as the Super PAC designed to help keep him in the White House, which is named Priorities USA Action.

As of June 30, 24 individuals had donated to Priorities USA Action, meaning the double givers account for 37 percent of all individual donors to the group.

This handful of donors, though, is responsible for the vast majority of the money Priorities USA Action has raised. Collectively, these nine individuals donated $2.6 million to Priorities USA Action - or 82 percent of the total money the group raised.

The report comes from the Center for Responsive Politics which tracks political money and from Democracy 21 and the Campaign Legal Center which advocate for more regulation of such funds.

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