- The Washington Times - Friday, January 27, 2012

A super PAC supporting a presidential candidate has finally disclosed some of its big-money donors — but it’s not one of the groups backing the two top-tier candidates, both of which managed to avoid revealing their donors before the early primaries through a questionable loophole. In a federal disclosure Thursday, the Santa Rita Super PAC, which supports Texas Rep. Ron Paul, revealed the names of a few wealthy Texans who have given a total of a quarter-million dollars in December.

The family of Mark Hart III, a financier who earned millions of dollars betting on Europe’s debt, gave $100,000 in one day last month. He has also urged investors to buy gold to provide security in turbulent financial times, according to a profile in British publication The Week, as well as made money by anticipating the housing bubble.

Spotting the risks of debt has made the Fort Worth man wealthy enough to become a major political backer, but the Citizens United Supreme Court decision that weakened contribution limits has permitted him to do so. But his business sense also puts him squarely in line with Mr. Paul’s philosophy, which has advocated for dramatically curtailing the federal government and avoiding debt at all cost. It also juxtaposes him with many of Mr. Romney’s donors in the financial industry, some of whom were part of banks that gave home loans to many who could not afford them, and worked for banks that were ultimately bailed out by the federal government.

Dallas real estate developer Donald B. Huffines also gave $50,000.

The PAC has spent $320,000 in television advertising before the South Carolina primary — an uncharacteristically mainstream tact for Paul supporters, who have long favored, and excelled at, online activism.

Paul groups differ from those supporting former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, as well as Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who dropped out of the race this month, in that they are true grassroots efforts, lacking formal ties to the candidates. There are also two of them, the other called Endorse Liberty.

Following the Romney super PAC’s lead, the major super PACs avoided filing paperwork that requires those which didn’t voluntarily disclose monthly already to file special reports before each primary by agreeing to switch to monthly filings in the days before the first primary — even though they had provided no glimpse into their finances since June, in the case of the Romney PAC. Others did not even exist in June. All must finally disclose their 2011 donors by Tuesday.