Efforts to derail the momentum of Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump have been financed by a small number of Republican donors. Just two families have financed nearly two-thirds - 62 percent - of the total efforts by two of the main organizations attempting to stop the nomination of Trump.
The Ricketts family, who own the Chicago Cubs, and the Stephens family, Arkansas based investors, have given a total of $8.25 million in January and February to two super PACs this year, according to the latest filings to the Federal Election Committee.
Our Principles PAC has collected $7.78 million dollars since its inception in January. Of that, $5 million, or 64 percent, is from Joe and Marlene Ricketts, owners of the Chicago Cubs and founders of TD Ameritrade.
Trump often hammers the Ricketts in his campaign speeches, and did so as recently as Monday in an interview with the Washington Post.
"I’ll start taking ads telling them all what a rotten job they’re doing with the Chicago Cubs. I mean, they are spending on me. I mean, so am I allowed to say that? I’ll start doing ads about their baseball team. That it’s not properly run or that they haven’t done a good job in the brokerage business lately," Trump said.
The super PAC picked up a couple additional large-dollar donors in February as Trump's popularity turned into electoral support. Major donor to former candidate Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Paul Singer, who gave the super PAC backing Rubio $5 million, also gave Our Principles PAC $1 million.
Warren Stephens is another donor who gave the super PAC $1 million last month. Stephens, the head of Stephens Inc., a private investment bank in Arkansas, also contributed $1.25 million to a second super PAC working to defeat Trump, Club for Growth.
Stephens' brother, Jackson T. Stephens Jr., also gave $1.25 million to the Club for Growth and is also a board member of the organization.
Here's the year-to-date breakdown:
Our Principles PAC: $7.78 million
Marlene Ricketts: $4 million
Joe Ricketts: $1 million
Paul Singer: $1 million
Warren Stephens: $1 million
Harlan Crow: $100,000
Thomas Rastin: $50,000
Stanley Hubbard: $10,000
Club for Growth: $5 million
Jackson T. Stephens Jr.: $1.25 million
Warren Stephens: $1.25 million
Richard Uihlein: $1.5 million
Virginia James: $500,000
The Club for Growth also ran anti-Trump issue ads in Florida and Utah, which were done through the Club for Growth’s 501c4, which doesn’t have to disclose its donors.
Finally, the other well-funded anti-Trump organization, American Future Fund, also does not have to disclose its donors because it’s also organized as a tax-exempt 501c4 organization. It does, however, have to file with the FEC every time it purchases advertisements in support or opposition to a candidate.
The group has received money from Charles and David Koch organizations as well as former President George W. Bush strategist Karl Rove’s American Crossroads in the past, and it has spent $3.9 million in anti-Trump ads in Florida and $1 million in Illinois this year.
Correction: An earlier version said Karl Rove's group was Club for Growth. It is American Crossroads.