One Texas billionaire really wants President Obama to lose the election. And he's putting part of his considerable fortune to work to try to make that happen by donating millions to super political action committees, or PACs.
Harold Clark Simmons, whose net worth is estimated at $10 billion, doesn't state a preference for a particular Republican candidate. He just wants a Republican president and a GOP majority in the House and Senate. In a profile in the Wall Street Journal, he called Obama a socialist and says Republicans will rescue the economy from the current president's agenda. He's in favor of business deregulation and tax reform.
Super PACs can collect unlimited funds as long as they maintain independence from candidates and the funds are not used to directly finance a candidate's campaign. Simmons has directed most of his donations to American Crossroads, which is dedicated generally to defeating Obama. He's the largest single contributor to super PACs in 2012, having already donated $18 million so far. By the November election, he plans to top out at $36 million.
Contributions to the super PACs are essential for Republicans, who have far less in campaign funds than the $85 million in reserves that Obama has. Republican candidate Mitt Romney has about $7 million.
Simmons made his fortune from an initial purchase of a drug store that he turned into a chain of more than 100 before he sold for $50 million. He then began investing in the stocks of underperforming companies during the 1970s and 80s, earning the nickname "Iceman." He currently heads Contran Corp., a chemical and metals conglomerate.
A member of the Obama campaign dismissed Simmons in the Wall Street Journal as a corporate raider who is looking out for his own interests at the expense of the middle class.
Do you think Simmons' money will have a negative effect on Obama's election campaign?
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