NBC's Investigative Correspondent Michael Isikoff takes a look at the released information on Super PAC fundraising and donors. Romney donors include Wall St. hedge fund managers and a Koch brother.
By Bill Dedman, msnbc.com, and Michael Isikoff, NBC News
with reporting by NBC's Azriel Relph and Lisa Riordan Seville
After the speeches were over and the TV cameras in Florida were turned off, the pro-Mitt Romney Super PAC called Restore Our Future disclosed its fundraising Tuesday night, just before the midnight ET deadline.
It showed total receipts of $17.9 million during the last six months of last year. It had previously reported raising $12.2 million in the first six months of the year. The PAC ended the year with $23.6 million in the bank, hoarding a huge bankroll for the primaries and general election. The figures for January are not yet included.
Top Wall Street moguls from big hedge fund and private equity firms, including principals from Bain Capital, topped the list of donors that pumped more than $17.9 million into the Mitt Romney Super PAC, helping to bankroll attack ads in the Republican primary states.
But while the filing by Restore Our Future shows its formidable fundraising prowess, it will do little to alleviate criticism that Romney is too closely tied to Wall Street and other corporate interests.
The Romney Super PAC collected seven $1 million donations, including one from Paul Singer, the billionaire and secretive head of the Elliott Management hedge fund, and two others from hedge fund kingpins Julian Robertson of Tiger Management and Robert Mercer of Rennaissance Technologies.
Others accounting for $1 million donations included Florida energy executive Bill Koch of Oxbow Carbon, who has also been a fundraiser for Romney's presidential campaign; Miguel Fernandez, who chairs a Miami private equity firm MBF Healthcare Partners; and Rooney Holdings of Tulsa Oklahoma.
Also giving a total of $1 million were firms headed by Frank L. VanderSloot of Idaho. He is also the co-chair of Romney's Idaho finance operation. His firms, operating under the names Melaleuca Inc., Melaleuca of Asia Ltd. Co., Melaleuca of Japan Inc., Melaleuca of Southeast Asia Inc., gave a total of $250,000. The company sells Nicole Miller Timeless Age Defying Serum and other home "wellness" remedies. Forbes magazine has a profile of VanderSloot here.
Three executives of Bain Capital, the private equity firm formerly headed by Romney, gave a total of $625,000.
Romney has insisted he is not involved in the Super PAC and has no control over its ad buys or messages. But further evidence that the group is working closely with Romney's interests came Tuesday night when Restore Our Future held back its required filing with the Federal Election Commission until after Romney had given his victory speech in the Florida primary.
The filing underscores the key role of wealthy donors and companies in funding the super pacs. Some 62 of its contributors gave $100,000 or more.
Other big donors include:
Chris Shumway, Shumway Capital Investments, Greenwich, Conn., $750,000.
Bob Perry, Perry Homes, Houston, $500,000.
Steven Webster, Avista Capital, Houston, $500,000.
By contrast, a Super PAC supporting Newt Gingrich reported $2.1 million, not counting $10 million from a casino magnate donated in January.
The Super PAC supporting President Obama reported $4.4 million received by year end. A Super PAC supporting Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who has dropped out of the Republican race, reported $5.5 million.
Super PACS are known to the Federal Election Commission as independent committees, because they are forbidden to coordinate their activities with campaigns. Outside the limits of campaign finance laws, Super PACs may raise unlimited sums of money from corporations, unions, associations and individuals. They can use that money to advocate for or against political candidates.
Read more about the reports filed Tuesday: