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INSTITUTE INDEX: Super PACs rake in corporate cash

Number of for-profit businesses that have contributed to so-called "super PACs," independent committees that can raise unlimited sums from individuals, corporations, unions and other groups to influence elections: 500

Total amount that those businesses have contributed to super PACs: $31 million

Percent of total itemized super PAC funds those contributions represent: 17

Rank of Contran Corp., a private Dallas-based holding company owned by billionaire and longtime Republican donor Harold Simmons, among the top business contributors to super PACs: 1

Amount that Contran Corp. has contributed to super PACs to date: $3 million

Total contributions by Simmons and Contran to the Karl Rove-founded American Crossroads super PAC, which does not back a specific candidate but Republicans generally: $12 million

Rank of American Crossroads among super PACs receiving the most business money: 1

Amount that Simmons was fined by the Federal Election Commission in 1993 for exceeding the legal limit of campaign contributions in the 1989 and 1990 elections: $19,000

Rank of TRT Holdings -- a private company based in Irving, Texas that owns Omni Hotels, Gold's Gym, an oil exploration firm, and other businesses -- among the top super PAC business contributors: 2

Rank of Texas among the states where businesses have contributed the most to super PACs: 1

Number of Texas businesses that have contributed to super PACS: 124

Amount that Texas businesses have contributed to super PACs: $7,807,815

Percentage by which super PAC contributions from Texas businesses exceed those from Oklahoma, which comes in second: almost 55

Rank of Florida among states where businesses have contributed the most to super PACs: 3

Amount that Florida businesses have contributed to super PACs: $2,314,230

Amount by which funds raised in January by the super PAC backing GOP presidential hopeful and former Georgia Congressman Newt Gingrich exceeded the amount raised by Gingrich's own campaign: $5 million

Of the $11 million that Gingrich's super PAC raised in January, amount that came from Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam: $10 million

Percent by which the funds that the super PAC backing GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney had on hand in January exceeded the amount held by Romney's own campaign: over 200

Date on which a hearing will be held on a proposed rule to clarify the implications of the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision that opened the door to unlimited campaign spending by corporations: 3/7/2012

(Click on figure to go to source. Map graphic and many of these figures are from "Auctioning Democracy: Business Contributions to Super PACs," Demos and U.S. PIRG, February 2012.)

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