Steyer Cuts $2 Million for Climate, Mercer Aids Tea Party

Billionaire investor Tom Steyer gave $2 million last month to his super-political action committee, which is trying to raise climate change as an election issue in the November elections.

San Francisco philanthropist Herbert Sandler gave $1 million as the only other donor in June to Steyer’s super-PAC, NextGen Climate Action Committee, according to a report filed with the U.S. Federal Election Commission in Washington.

The 2014 election is the first full midterm race featuring super-PACs, which grew out of a series of court decisions and regulatory actions in 2010. The groups may raise funds in unlimited amounts to directly advocate for the election or defeat of candidates, as long as the spending isn’t coordinated with candidates’ campaigns.

Steyer’s group is targeting Republican candidates in seven states, including four that are holding competitive Senate races in November, as Democrats try to keep their majority for the last two years of President Barack Obama’s administration.

Steyer, who founded Farallon Capital Management in San Francisco, has pledged to raise $100 million backing candidates who support climate-change action, promising at least half from himself. Sandler’s donation was the super-PAC’s fourth large contribution from someone other than Steyer, FEC records show.

The disclosures due yesterday include those super-PACs that file on a monthly basis to the FEC. Others submit quarterly disclosure reports.

Defending Democrats

Senate Majority PAC, which is working to defend the Democrats’ 55-45 advantage in the chamber, took in $2.4 million last month from donors including billionaire philanthropist Eli Broad and A&M Records co-founder Jerry Moss. Each gave $250,000 to the super-PAC, which is run by political allies of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, of Nevada.

Broad gave $25,000 in April to a super-PAC encouraging Hillary Clinton to run for president in 2016.

Senate Majority PAC received $250,000 from Priorities USA Action, which will collect big checks to independently aid Clinton if she seeks the White House. In the 2012 election, Priorities USA Action spent more than $75 million to help Obama defeat Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

Priorities USA Action also sent $250,000 last month to House Majority PAC, a super-PAC seeking to overturn the House’s Republican majority. House Majority PAC raised $1.5 million in June.

Club for Growth Action, a Tea Party, limited-government super-PAC that opposes a reauthorization of the U.S. Export-Import Bank, raised about $1.2 million as it focused on a campaign to unseat Senator Thad Cochran that failed in a Republican runoff in Mississippi.

Tea-Party Allies

The super-PAC received $300,000 from Robert Mercer, the co-chief executive officer of hedge-fund manager Renaissance Technologies LLC, and $200,000 from John Childs, the chairman of JW Childs Associates LP in Waltham, Massachusetts.

Mercer also provided $250,000 last month to Senate Conservatives Action, a super-PAC that opposed the re-election of Cochran, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who won a May primary in Kentucky.

American Crossroads, a Republican super-PAC advised by political strategist Karl Rove, raised $113,000 in June, its second-lowest total in any month this year. The super-PAC received $100,000 from Denver-based Hallador Energy Co.

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