A government report released yesterday shows the vast majority of major donations to controversial 527 groups such as Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and Moveon.org go to Democratic and so-called “progressive” groups.
According to the IRS records, as reported by opensecrets.com, just two of the top 25 donors to the politically charged groups in the 2004 election cycle gave to Republican organizations.
Broken down by amount, it means 24 high rollers gave $56,193,000 to left-leaning groups, while two donors gave $1,520,000 to Republican groups.
The list is lead by Peter Lewis, who gave $14,230,000 to Moveon.org, the Marijuana Policy Project and PunkVoter, Inc., among other groups. Lewis is followed by well-known Democrat supporter and billionaire George Soros, who gave to the Joint Victory Campaign 2004, Moveon.org and others. His donations totaled $12.6 million.
Coming in third was producer Steven Bing, who gave just over $8 million to three “progressive” groups.
The lone donor to Republican 527s in the top 10 was Carl Lindner, who gave to four groups totaling $1,020,000. Paul Singer gave a $500,000 gift to the conservative organization Progress for America.
The 527 groups, named after the IRS code that governs them, are tax-exempt groups that raise unlimited “soft money” for political activities. Many are single-issue groups or organizations explicitly opposed to specific candidates.
Yesterday, President Bush criticized 527 groups and the TV ads they are running in opposition to himself and Democrat John Kerry, saying the organizations are “bad for the system.”
While Swift Boat Veterans for Truth has taken shots for its ads critical of Kerry’s Vietnam service, Moveon.org came under fire for videos on its website earlier this year that compared Bush to Adolf Hitler.
Moveon.org has been largely bankrolled by Lewis and Soros, each giving over $2.5 million during the 2004 election cycle.
The Democratic Joint Victory Campaign 2004 has received the most donations this cycle, raking in $41,685,706. No. 2 is another anti-Bush group, the Media Fund, which collected $28,127,488.
The top conservative group in fund-raising is the Club for Growth, which took in $5,288,847. Many of the group’s donations came from individuals, some listed as “retired” and giving as little as $50.