A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Santa Rita Super PAC


Political leanings: Republican/Pro-Ron Paul Super PAC

Spending target: Undisclosed

Santa Rita Super PAC is a pro-Ron Paul political action committee created by Donald Huffines, a Paul donor and fundraiser.

The Dallas-based land developer co-owns a Catholic radio station in the Washington, D.C., area and has contributed to Republicans running for House and Senate seats in states including Texas, Nevada and New Mexico. Huffines shares Paul’s view of limited government and lower taxes. “Imagine what it would be like if we had no income tax in the country?” Huffines told CNNMoney in 2008. “I don’t think anyone would do more for business — small or large — than Ron Paul. He would eliminate the role of government in our business lives, and the GDP growth of the country would skyrocket as a result.”

Santa Rita first registered with the Federal Election Commission on Jan. 4. Huffines is listed as the PAC’s president and treasurer. He co-owns Huffines Communities, a Dallas-based real estate company that builds planned communities.

The group can raise unlimited amounts of money, but it must report its donors to the FEC. As of June 30, the group disclosed it raised $433,361. Huffines contributed $50,000. Other major contributors included Mark and Shannon Hart of Fort Worth, Texas, who together donated $100,000. Mark Hart III is a hedge fund manager who made millions betting against subprime mortgages in the U.S. and betting on the debt crisis in Europe, according to Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal.

Huffines had made $63,664 in individual contributions to various Republican campaigns, according to the FEC’s online contribution database. Some of those campaigns were not without controversy.

In February 2010, Huffines donated $2,400 to the campaign of Republican Stephen Broden, a Dallas pastor who unsuccessfully ran for Texas’ 30th congressional district seat. A month before the election, Broden said in a TV interview that a violent overthrow of the government is “on the table” if the midterm congressional elections didn’t produce a change in leadership.

Santa Rita produced TV ads in support of Paul, primarily in South Carolina, but it spent far less than PACs supporting other GOP presidential candidates. After South Carolina, Santa Rita planned to run ads in Nevada, Alaska, Maine, Wyoming, North Dakota and South Dakota to “spread Dr. Paul’s message of Liberty and Constitutional Limited Government.” But the group did not spend any money on TV ads outside of South Carolina, according to independent expenditure disclosures contained its April quarterly report.

Update, July 25: We updated this item to reflect campaign finance data through June 30, 2012.