Mega-Donors Give Obama a Boost

Saban and Jacobs Give $3M to Democratic Super PAC

Big Haul: President Obama is still way behind Mitt Romney when it comes to donations to nominally independent super PACs. But gifts from two wealthy Jews give him reason to hope he can stay close.
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Big Haul: President Obama is still way behind Mitt Romney when it comes to donations to nominally independent super PACs. But gifts from two wealthy Jews give him reason to hope he can stay close.

By Josh Nathan-Kazis

Published July 26, 2012, issue of August 03, 2012.
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Saban’s $1 million super PAC check was made out to a Democratic super PAC called Unity 2012. That organization split the donation between three Democratic PACs, one supporting House candidates, one supporting Senate candidates and one supporting Obama’s re-election.

Saban’s June donation marked his first to support a pro-Obama super PAC. He gave the maximum allowed donation of $5,000 to Obama’s campaign committee last December.

Compared with Saban, Jacobs, 78, is a relatively low-profile political figure. Better known for his philanthropy, Jacobs, along with his wife, is a major backer of the San Diego Symphony, among other causes.

Jacobs’s $2 million donation to the pro-Obama Priorities USA Action, made June 11, is one of the two largest yet made to the super PAC. The only other $2 million donation is from DreamWorks Animation founder Jeffrey Katzenberg, who has spearheaded fundraising for the group.

The donations from Katzenberg and Jacobs, both of whom are Jewish, make up 20% of the total raised by Priorities USA Action.

Other major new super PAC donations from Jewish donors in recent months have largely been on the Republican side. The $10 million from Adelson and his wife has already received heavy press coverage. The Adelsons also gave a less-noticed $5 million donation to a super PAC linked to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.

Bruce Kovner, a hedge fund manager and longtime backer of conservative causes, also gave to the Cantor super PAC. Kovner and his wife gave a total of $300,000.

Contact Josh Nathan-Kazis at nathankazis@forward.com or on Twitter @joshnathankazis


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