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Super PAC Money Getting More Scrutiny, Complaints

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo

Restore Our Future, the super PAC backing Mitt Romney, collected two dozen contributions last month totaling $100,000 or more apiece from wealthy CEOs, investors and financial services industry executives. These included $500,000 each from Alliance Coal President Joseph Craft and from 4Life Research CEO David Lisonbee.

A substantial number of the big donors underwriting super PACs also are giving the maximum to the candidates’ campaigns, according to a report released today by a trio of watchdog groups. In 2011, 84 percent of the donors to the Restore Our Future super PAC — 172 donors — had also given the maximum individual contribution to Romney’s campaign, according to the report released by the Campaign Legal Center, the Center for Responsive Politics and Democracy 21.

Five of the 18 individuals who contributed to the pro-Gingrich Winning Our Future PAC in 2011 also gave the maximum to the Gingrich campaign, the report found. Fifteen of the 55 individual donors to the pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA Action had also donated the maximum to the Obama campaign.

The pro-Paul super PAC Endorse Liberty had only one donor who backed both the PAC and the campaign. As for the pro-Santorum Red, White and Blue Fund, the report found that nine of the PAC’s 14 individual donors also gave the maximum to Santorum’s campaign. The double-giving illustrates the extent to which super PACs are operating as “shadow” campaign committees of the candidates they back, the report concludes.

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