Sunlight Foundation Reporting Group: Super PAC filings show who big donors of 2011 were

The deadline for presidential super PACs like Restore Our Future and Winning Our Future–supporting, respectively, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich–and other committees to file their disclosures with the Federal Election Commission is 11:59 P.M. Sunlight’s Reporting Group will be combing through the filings, looking to see who’s writing six- and seven-figure checks to the super PACs that are trying to influence voters in the Republican primaries–and beyond. We’ll update this post as filings arrive, telling you what we find, what we find interesting, and what we can’t find. Newest material follows this paragraph.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s exit from the race left the biggest super PAC supporting him, Make Us Great Again, with more than $600,000 in the bank. In less than five months of existence, the committee collected more than $5.4 million, mostly in large chunks: The roster of contributors lists plenty of $25,000, $50,000, $100,000. Robert McNair, the owner of the Houston Texans football team, kicked in $100,000 as did Drayton McLane, former owner of Major League Baseball’s Houston Astros.

Perry famously attacked rival Mitt Romney as a “vulture capitalist” but the PAC backing him got a $1 million contribution from Harold Simmons, who made a reputation as a corporate raider. In 2004, Simmons also helped fund the “Swift Boat” ads which attacked the military record of Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., a Vietnam veteran who was that year’s Democratic nominee. Two other donors to Make Us Great Again are on the Forbes 400 Richest Americans list: Telecom executive turned horse owner Kenny Troutt and former computer executive Darwin Deason (#379). Troutt gave $150,000; Deason, $250,000.

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