Major Mitt Romney 2012 Donors Shun Donald Trump in Favor of Down-Ballot Races

Several of Mitt Romney's top donors have not given to Trump's campaign.

ByABC News
August 23, 2016, 12:37 PM

— -- Several top Republican donors have made hefty contributions this election cycle — just not to the top of the GOP ticket.

An ABC News analysis of several of Mitt Romney’s biggest donors in 2012 revealed that they have so far declined to help fund Donald Trump’s campaign, his joint victory fund or super PACs backing him, instead shifting their contributions to congressional election campaigns.

Hedge fund manager Paul Singer, an outspoken critic of Trump, donated $1 million to Restore Our Future, a super PAC that backed Romney in 2012, and $5 million this election cycle to Conservative Solutions, a super PAC supporting Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.

Singer, who earlier this summer said Trump’s economic policies could cause a “global depression,” also gave $2.5 million to Our Principles PAC, intended to stop Trump from winning the GOP nomination.

Unsurprisingly, Singer has not donated anything to Trump. But, according to Federal Election Commission disclosures, he has given over $3 million to two super PACs, the Congressional Leadership Fund and American Unity PAC, aimed at electing Republicans to Congress. He has donated over $200,000 to House Speaker Paul Ryan’s joint re-election campaign fund and the National Republican Congressional Committee and $600,000 to New York Wins PAC, aimed at electing Republicans to Congress in New York.

Singer is still supporting Rubio, who is now running for re-election to the Senate, and has given him $5,400, the maximum allowed.

Similarly, retired New York hedge fund manager Julian Robertson gave over $2 million to Romney’s super PAC in 2012. During the primary season, he gave $2 million to Jeb Bush’s super PAC and $500,000 to John Kasich’s. Robertson has refrained from donating to any committees associated with the Trump campaign this cycle. He has given $2 million to the Congressional Leadership Fund, $75,000 to Ryan’s joint fundraising effort and $70,000 to the National Republican Congressional Committee.

The most glaring absence from Trump’s donor list is that of Sheldon Adelson, the Las Vegas casino mogul who threw his support behind Trump in May and offered to contribute to his campaign. According to FEC records, Adelson donated $15 million to Romney’s super PAC during the 2012 election, and a study by ProPublica found that Adelson and his wife donated $98 million overall.

Unlike Singer and Robertson, however, Adelson has not given significant funds to any down-ballot efforts. His only contribution in 2016 was $5,400 to Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley’s re-election campaign. Adelson’s last donation to the Republican National Committee was on Dec. 31, 2015, when he and his wife each gave $33,400.

A representative for Adelson declined to comment to ABC News for this article.

Others who gave at least $50,000 to Romney’s super PAC in 2012 but have eschewed Trump this year in favor of down-ballot races include billionaires Robert Rowling, Frank VanderSloot and Todd Ricketts.

Even several donors named to the Trump Victory Leadership Committee, which coordinates with the Republican National Committee to fundraise for Trump, are donating to congressional races over the presidential one.

As of the end of June, only seven of the 22 Trump Victory Leadership Committee members donated to the Trump Victory Fund, the joint effort between the Republican Party and the Trump campaign. The fund is required to disclose its finances quarterly, and it is possible more members donated in July and August. Even so, within a month of being named to the leadership team, not even one-third of them donated to the fund directly, though several have given ample amounts to the RNC.

Nearly all the members who haven’t donated to Trump, however, have donated to down-ballot races.

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