The super PAC backing Gov. Christie's presidential candidacy disclosed its list of donors to federal regulators Friday, offering the first detailed glimpse of his national network of financial backers.
Among the donors are members of the Christie campaign's national finance team, such as hedge-fund billionaire Steven A. Cohen and Home Depot cofounder Kenneth G. Langone. Other contributors include New Jersey firms that have been awarded a total of more than $100 million in state contracts. Those companies are restricted in what they can contribute to state campaigns under pay-to-play laws.
Cohen and his wife have each donated $1 million to the super PAC, America Leads, while Langone has donated $250,000.
The parent company of Winecup Gamble Ranch in Nevada also gave $1 million to the political action committee. The company is headed by Paul Fireman, the billionaire founder and former chairman of Reebok International, who has built a golf course in Jersey City and wants to build a casino there.
Friday's filing with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) does not offer a complete picture of the Republican governor's fund-raising apparatus; his campaign will not have to report its fund-raising activity to regulators until October.
America Leads, unlike the campaign, can accept unlimited donations from corporations, unions, and individuals. The PAC cannot coordinate with the campaign.
The super PAC, formed in February, announced in mid-July that it had raised $11 million through the quarter ending June 30. Its filing with the FEC Friday confirmed that figure and showed it had $10.7 million cash on hand as of June 30. Since then, the PAC has spent $750,000 on a national TV ad buy being broadcast on Fox News.
By contrast, the super PAC supporting former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has raised more than $100 million since January and the PAC backing Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker raised $20 million between April and June 30, records show.
Thirty-eight firms and individuals gave $100,000 or more to Christie's super PAC, including the three $1 million donors, accounting for more than $9 million.
The remaining 98 entities gave $50,000 or less, for nearly $1.7 million. Fifty-three of them gave donations of $10,000 or less.
The donors include Wall Street financiers, such as the New York billionaire Bruce Kovner, who donated just over $100,000 to the PAC. Kovner also donated $50,000 to the super PAC backing Bush.
Kovner donated $1.6 million to conservative outside groups in 2012, records show. He has also contributed to U.S. Sen. Cory A. Booker, a New Jersey Democrat.
Jeff Fox, CEO of Harbour Group in St. Louis, donated $100,000 to the Christie PAC; his father, Sam Fox, ambassador to Belgium under President George W. Bush, gave $250,000 to Right to Rise USA, the super PAC supporting Bush's brother Jeb.
Christie's super PAC shares another donor with Bush's: August A. Busch III, whose family founded the brewing company Anheuser-Busch. He donated $100,000 to each PAC.
Another sign that some donors have not yet committed to a single candidate: The billionaire investment banker Warren A. Stephens of Little Rock contributed $50,000 each to Christie's PAC and the one backing Walker.
Fred Wilpon, CEO of Christie's beloved New York Mets, donated $100,000 to America Leads. Christie's brother Todd, who works in business development for Ernst & Young, chipped in $100,000. Billionaire Daniel Gilbert, chairman of the online mortgage company Quicken Loans and owner of the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers, contributed $750,000.
Other donors include New Jersey firms, such as George Harms Construction, which had about $111 million in state contracts in 2014. The firm donated $25,000 to the super PAC.
Remington, Vernick & Arango Engineers Inc. of Cinnaminson, which contributed $25,000, had a $104,000 contract with the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority and a $360,000 contract with the Delaware River Port Authority. It also has dozens of contracts with municipalities and counties.
Acacia Financial Group, which has a $404,600 contract with the state to provide financial advisory services, gave $10,000 to the PAC.
The Mount Laurel law firm of Capehart & Scatchard P.A., which has a $50,000 contract with the state, gave $25,000 to the PAC. Newark-based Sills, Cummis & Gross P.C., which donated $25,000 to the PAC, has a $64,500 contract with New Jersey to provide legal services.
Messages seeking comment from several of the firms were not returned.
Under New Jersey law, the state cannot award contracts worth $17,500 or more to firms that have donated greater than $300 to state campaigns. America Leads and Christie's campaign are regulated by federal, not state, law.
Robert J. Hugin, chairman and CEO of the pharmaceutical company Celgene Corp., donated $100,000 to the PAC. Hugin sits on the board of Choose New Jersey, a nonprofit group that has paid for Christie's travel abroad to countries such as Israel and Britain.
Public Service Enterprise Group, the Newark-based utility company whose president is chairman of Choose New Jersey, donated $250,000. State-regulated entities cannot donate directly to state campaigns.
"Clearly, it would be good for our company and state to have someone in the White House who understands the issues facing New Jersey," said Michael V. Jennings, a company spokesman.
Celgene did not respond to a request for comment.