The nonprofit investigative-reporting outfit ProPublica has published a handy guide to the country's top 10 super PAC funders -- individuals with enough dough on hand to bankroll, to the tune of millions, independent political committees supporting presidential candidates. Such unfettered spending was made possible by the U.S. Supreme Court's controversial decision in the 2010 Citizens United case.
California has long been home to big campaign donors of all political stripes. And it turns out that the fourth-largest donor to a super PAC is right here in San Francisco.
Peter Thiel, the enigmatic venture capitalist who co-founded PayPal and was Facebook's first outside investor, has given $2.6 million to Endorse Liberty, a super PAC supporting Republican presidential contender Ron Paul. The San Francisco Chronicle reported last weekend that Thiel is so far the source of more than half the group's money.
Thiel's support for Paul, a libertarian and avid conspiracy theorist who attracts a devout following among those dissatisfied with the GOP status quo, doesn't come as a big surprise. As The New Yorker reported in a lengthy November profile, Thiel espouses a brand of "libertarian futurism" that is sometimes surprisingly at odds with the values of the tech industry with which many associate his name. (In the story, Thiel says of the iPhone, "I don't consider this to be a technological breakthrough.")
As ProPublica detailed, the top six donors to super PACs all support Republicans. In fact, only one of the top 10, Jeffrey Katzenberg of Beverly Hills, gave money to the super PAC supporting the re-election of President Obama.
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