Female Mega-Donors Emerging This Election Year

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Big spenders are coming out in support of Women Vote!, a reproductive rights Super PAC, the Center for Responsive Politics reports. Women Vote! is affiliated with EMILY’s List, the political action committee dedicated to electing pro-choice women.

In August, the super-PAC brought in $1.9 million, including five six-figure donations from individual female donors. As CRP has pointed out before, this is significant, as there is generally a giant gender gap in political donations; 70 percent of donors for the 2012 cycle have been male. But the donations to Women Vote! indicate that some very wealthy women are making major campaign expenditures this year. The super-PAC has also received several big donations from other progressive organizations: the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund ($325,000) and America Votes ($151,000).

Here are the women donors who made big contributions in August:

But in August, Barbara Stiefel, a Florida philanthropist who had previously donated $1 million to Priorities USA, the super PAC backing President Barack Obama, wrote a $250,000 check to Women Vote! Laura Ricketts, a co-owner of the Chicago Cubs, gave $200,000; if that name sounds familiar, it’s because her father, Joe Ricketts, the founder of TD Ameritrade, made headlines earlier this year when it was reported that his own outside spending group, the Ending Spending Fund was considering launching a major campaign against Obama. New York City philanthropist Shelley Rubin also gave $150,000 last month, and two other women—Mitzi Henderson and Barbara Fish Lee—gave $100,000 apiece.

EMILY’s List says the big donations are a result of the increasing attention to reproductive rights and other women-centric issues this election year. “Finding out that Republicans want to roll back the clock that far for women has been a shock—and folks are absolutely waking up to the need to have more Democratic women in government at every level,” EMILY’s List president Stephanie Schriock said in a statement to Mother Jones.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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