Meet Florida's big-time donors to super PACs
In Florida's vast political orbit, Barbara Stiefel hardly registers. Yet if President Barack Obama wins re-election, the 59-year-old retiree from Coral Gables will have played an outsized role.
Stiefel this year has written checks for $50,000 and $1 million to the pro-Obama Priorities USA Action, one of the new breed of "super PACs" using unlimited donations to scramble the rules of political campaigns.
Her money — a mountain compared to the $5,000 she was legally allowed to give directly to Obama — helped produce an onslaught of TV ads portraying Mitt Romney as an out-of-touch corporate raider.
Stiefel, whose family made money in the pharmaceutical business, is not alone in Florida, but she is the only Democratic super donor. Ten residents have given at least $500,000 to super PACs.
"There are some very wealthy people on both sides who are looking to make a statement," said Brian Ballard, a veteran Florida GOP fundraiser. "The super PAC steps it up another notch."