A group of Republican donors have launched an effort to get Republicans to support redefining marriage to include same-sex couples.
American Unity Fund was recently formed from the American Unity PAC, which spent money on pro-gay marriage advocacy in the 2012 election. American Unity Fund has already spent more than $250,000 to lobby Republicans in the Minnesota legislature, according to The Associated Press. The legislature may vote soon on whether to redefine marriage in that state to include same-sex couples.
"They have money, but they're small in number," Family Research Council President Tony Perkins told The New York Times.
According to OpenSecrets.org, American Unity PAC spent $2,245,078 in the 2012 election trying to influence the outcome of 8 House races and one Senate race. The PAC had 11 donors who donated at least $200. The largest donor is billionaire hedge fund manager Paul Singer, who also founded the PAC.
None of the money went directly to candidates but was spent independent of the campaigns to elect or defeat a candidate. The PAC was only successful, though, in two of the nine races it tried to influence.
Compared to other super PACs that spent at least $100,000 to back Republican candidates in the 2012 election, American Unity was ranked 17 out of 29. For comparison, the two largest Republican super PACs, Restore Our Future and American Crossroads, spent nearly $250 billion combined.
American Unity was more successful in Rhode Island. Last month, the group spent money to encourage Republican lawmakers there to back redefining marriage. All five of the state Senate Republicans ended up backing the measure. Gov. Lincoln Chafee is expected to sign that bill into law Thursday.
In Minnesota, American Unity is giving directly to a state group that is lobbying Republican legislators. Thus far, only one of them has said they will support redefining marriage in the state.