President Obama got some grief this week when he reversed course on super PACs, suddenly encouraging wealthy supporters to contribute to the political spending behemoths that can accept unlimited donations from individuals and organizations. (Read a quick primer on super PACs here.) Obama campaign manager Jim Messina explained the change of heart as a nod to reality, saying Democrats can't "unilaterally disarm" while cash pours into Republican coffers. How much cash? A lot, say Kenneth Vogel and Abby Phillip at Politico. A new report from two public-interest groups confirms fears "that the cash for big-ticket campaign spending like TV advertising is increasingly controlled by an elite class of super-rich patrons not afraid to plunk down a million bucks or more for favored candidates and causes." Here, a stats-based look at the "disturbing" super PACs:
Registered super PACs
Amount raised by all super PACs in the past two years
Percent of those donations that came from "fewer than 200 super-rich people"
Percent of individual super PAC donors who gave at least $10,000
Amount donated by just 32 people last year
People who gave at least $1 million to super PACs last year
$1 million-plus donations that went to Republican-aligned super PACs
Amount DreamWorks' Jeffrey Katzenberg donated to Obama-aligned Priorities USA Action
Amount Dallas billionaire Harold Simmons and his company gave to American Crossroads and other GOP-aligned super PACs
Amount casino mogul Sheldon Adelson and his family donated to Newt Gingrich's super PAC
Amount liberal financier George Soros donated to super PACs (though he made political contributions of more than $20 million in 2004)
Amount raised by Mitt Romney–aligned Restore Our Future PAC last year
Amount raised by Karl Rove–founded American Crossroads last year
Amount raised by Obama-aligned Priorities USA Action
Non-super PAC funds raised by Obama's campaign and the Democratic National Committee last year
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