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Pro-Romney PAC Raises $12.3 Million From High-Dollar Donors

A political action committee that supports former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney in the Republican presidential primary raised $12.3 million from mostly big-money donors in the first half of this year.

Hedge fund manager John Paulson, who made money during the financial crisis betting against subprime mortgages, was one of four $1 million donors to the Restore Our Future PAC.

The other three are corporations: F8 LLC and Eli Publishing Inc., both listed at the same address in Provo, Utah; and W. Spann LLC of New York.

J.W. Marriott, chairman and CEO of Marriott International Inc.; his brother Richard Marriott, chairman of Host Hotels and Resorts; and Louis Moore Bacon, CEO of Moore Capital Management LP in New York, each wrote the pro-Romney group a $500,000 check.

Romney, who polls suggest is leading in the 2012 nomination contest, reported earlier this month that he raised $18.3 million for his campaign during the second quarter. As of June 30, Romney had $12.6 million in the bank.

The donors included many in the financial industry, including Paul Edgerley, a managing director of Bain Capital LLC, the company Romney founded. With his wife Sandra, Edgerley contributed $1 million to the Restore Our Future PAC.

Founding Romney Aides

The political action committee is an independent group that can run ads to bolster Romney’s bid and may not coordinate with his campaign. Its treasurer is Charles R. Spies, who was Romney’s general counsel in the 2008 Republican primary. Its board of directors includes Carl Forti, who was political director for Romney’s primary campaign three years ago.

Restore Our Future is one of two “Super PACs,” independent political committees that take unlimited contributions, that have been created to help a presidential candidate. Former White House officials have set up a similar organization to promote President Barack Obama’s re-election.

The Romney-friendly committee could give him an advantage in the Republican primary by running ads attacking his opponents, which would allow Romney to conserve resources for his campaign.

The $12.3 million the group reported today to the Federal Election Commission came from fewer than 100 donors, many of whom wrote checks for hundreds of thousands of dollars. The smallest contribution was $3,500, more than the legal limit of $2,500 per election that an individual can donate to a candidate.

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