SuperPAC donors leading up to the 2012 presidential election, listed in order based on the size of their overall contributions. This list includes individuals as well as funds and corporations that have contributed to some of the nation's largest Super PACs. PAC stands for "political action committee," a name given to any private group that organizes with the express purpose of impacting political legislation or electing a specific candidate.
For a breakdown of just who's giving what in terms of the candidates, check out these pages for the largest Mitt Romney campaign contributors
and the biggest Barack Obama campaign donors of 2012
The landmark 2010 Supreme Court ruling in the case of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission made it legal for corporations, unions and other groups to spend money financing independent expenditures, such as PACs, even though it remains illegal for these same groups to give money to candidates directly. This has led to an explosion of PACs in both size and significance, with the largest committees (known as "Super PACs") raising unlimited funds in support of specific candidates.
The Super PACs must remain independent, and are not allowed to coordinate directly with candidates or political parties. They are also legally mandated to disclose their donors, although they are - due to a technicality - allowed to postpone these revelations until after the election they were designed to influence.
This list collects known donors providing the largest contributions to the nation's largest Super PACs. Because not all donors are disclosed before the 2012 Election, the list may not be entirely complete, but it will be updated throughout campaign season.