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Adelson Gives Convention Millions, Chiquita Gives Bananas

Oct. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Casino executive Sheldon Adelson gave $5 million to help stage the Republican National Convention, while Steven Spielberg’s Hollywood studio contributed $2 million to the Democratic convention, Federal Election Commission reports show.

While each political party gets taxpayer money to cover convention and security costs, the host cities also raise millions to help pay for staging the quadrennial gatherings.

Adelson’s $5 million donation to the host committee in Tampa, Florida, was the largest single contribution to either committee. He and his wife, Miriam, have given $10 million to Restore Our Future, the super-political action committee supporting Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

David Koch, executive vice president of Koch Industries Inc. of Wichita, contributed $1 million. He’s a founder of Americans for Prosperity, a nonprofit that doesn’t disclose its donors, which has spent an estimated $32 million against President Barack Obama, according to New York-based Kantar Media’s CMAG, which tracks TV advertising.

Hedge-fund managers Paul Singer of Elliott Management Corp. and Renaissance Technologies LLC co-chief executive officer Robert Mercer each wrote a $1 million check to the Tampa host committee. John Paulson, of Paulson & Co., contributed $1 million to the host committee through his firm, according to the reports, released Oct. 17.

Nascar Gift

Nascar race car driver Jeff Gordon gave $50,000 to the host committee. Romney once said that “some great friends” of his were Nascar owners.

The Tampa committee raised $55.9 million and reported no debts. It spent $52.3 million.

In Charlotte, North Carolina, the Democratic host committee initially announced it wouldn’t accept direct corporate contributions. Later the committee set up a separate entity to take such money.

The North Carolina committees raised $43 million between them and spent almost $50 million. They wound up more than $10 million in debt, including $8 million in bank loans.

Spielberg, who had given $100,000 to the pro-Obama super-PAC Priorities USA Action, contributed $2 million through his movie studio, Dreamworks Studios SKG.

Other Charlotte donors included Duke Energy Corp., whose chief executive officer, Jim Rogers, was co-chairman of the host committee. Duke Energy, based in the host city, contributed $6 million to the two committees and Rogers himself gave $339,523. Both included in-kind and cash donations.

Donated Bananas

The American Federation of Teachers gave $500,000 and Chiquita Brands International Inc., based in Cincinnati, donated $4,000 worth of bananas.

Several companies were double-givers. Bank of America Corp., based in Charlotte, contributed $5 million to the Democrats and $1.1 million to the Republicans. Fairfield, Connecticut-based General Electric Co., the biggest corporate spender on lobbying, gave $100,000 to the Republicans and $200,000 to the Democrats. AT&T Inc., the largest U.S. phone company, donated $3.1 million to the Republicans and $1.3 million to the Democrats, including almost $300,000 for catering and delegate bags with the Dallas-based company’s logo.

To contact the reporters on this story: Jonathan D. Salant in Washington at; Greg Giroux in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jeanne Cummings at

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