Former Secretary of State and Democratic candidate for president Hilary Clinton‘s campaign is picking up steam. The campaign had a strong second quarter of fundraising, with three super PACs alone bringing in almost $25 million.
According to officials from independent groups supporting Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, the super PACs raised more than $24 million in the second quarter of this year, with help from large donations by billionaire businessman George Soros, Hollywood mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg, and major Democratic donor Haim Saban.
Details on fundraising by super PACs supporting Clinton
On Thursday, Priorities USA Action, a Clinton super PAC focusing on social media marketing as well as traditional attack ads announced it had raised $15.6 million during the first six months of 2015, notably $2 million from Saban and $1 million from George Soros.
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In a related development, American Bridge 21st Century, a super PAC founded by Clinton confidante David Brock specializing in opposition research, had seen donations of $7.7 million (including $1 million from Soros) during the same period an official with the group noted earlier this week. The official also mentioned that a related non-profit named American Bridge 21st Century Foundation (not required to disclose its donors) raised another $1 million for Democratic political activities.
Super PACs come through for Clinton
Political analysts highlight that these strong super PAC numbers are a big deal for Clinton, whose campaign announced on Wednesday that it had raised $45 million during her first 90 days in the presidential race.
It is well known that Clinton is a fundraiser par excellence, but fundraising ability of the Democratic super PACs had not been demonstrated.
Clinton supporters were worried a few months ago as most progressive super PACs were struggling to raise cash amidst squabbling and reluctance among many of the Democratic Party’s traditional, well-heeled backers. These new fundraising numbers from Priorities and American Bridge, however, are very good news as it hints that the Democratic party’s core big donors are finally pulling out their checkbooks.
According to knowledgeable sources, Priorities saw large donations from longtime Democratic supporters in Hollywood including DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, producer J.J. Abrams and his wife Katie McGrath, and donors like California investor Herb Sandler and Boston philanthropist Barbara Lee. Apparently the PAC also got some union support, with sources also mentioning a sizable donation from the union representing plumbers and pipefitters.
The $2 million from George Soros is perhaps the most notable development of the week. The Hungarian billionaire is one of the few Democratic donors who will regularly donate in excess of $10 million (he gave over $20 million to groups looking to oust then-President George W. Bush in 2004). Analysts point out that after that effort did not work out, George Soros cut back on his political spending. That said, he still donates millions in major electoral cycles, and is definitely looked at as a "bellwether" by other major Democratic donors.
A George Soros adviser recently confirmed that his boss also gave $1 million this year to America Votes, a liberal non-profit group that mobilizes voters around issue and election campaigns. He, however, continued to note that George Soros has not decided how much we will give to political campaigns in 2016, or how he plans to split up his donations.