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Who's the Billionaire That's Giving a Santorum Super PAC a Big Boost?

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“Our government is strangling our workers with a foot on their throats.”

A super PAC supporting Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum has received a large boost from a Wyoming billionaire, putting outside spending groups supporting the former Pennsylvania senator in competition with groups supporting rival candidates Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich.

The Center for Public Integrity reports that Foster Friess has already put $537,000 into the Santorum super PAC "Red White and Blue Fund," and has now pledged to give up to an additional half-million dollars in matching funds to whatever is pledged by 5,000 "sportsmen" he has recently reached out to.

“The Democrats will chew Romney up because of his patrician background,” Friess said in an interview with iWatch News, in explaining his support for Santorum over the Massachusetts Republican. “It’s not his fault. Who’s going to be more appealing to blue-collar workers?”

“Our government is strangling our workers with a foot on their throats,” Friess went on to tell the Center for Public Integrity, referring to the federal income tax system.

The 71-year-old Friess was born in the small city of Rice Lake, Wisconsin, and has since built a $15.7 billion investment firm. In addition to paying for major ad time in Iowa, Friess spoke for and campaigned in person with Santorum in the days leading up to the former Pennsylvania senator's impressive showing in the first-in-the-nation caucus. POLITICO reports that Friess, a born-again christian, has been "a longtime donor to social conservative causes dear to Santorum," and the Center for Public Integrity notes that Friess has close ties to the Koch Family, known for their financial support of conservative causes.

Friess donated over $600,000 in soft money  to Republicans since 1998, $40,000 to the Santorum Victory Fund in 99 and 00.

The Center for Public integrity reports that Friess has lately called himself “an underdog billionaire,” in comparison to much wealthier GOP super-donors like Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who wrote a $5 million check to the pro-Gingrich “Winning Our Future” super PAC.  The super PAC supporting Mitt Romney "Restore Our Future," has received $1 million donations from former Bain executive Edward Conard, the Marriott family, and New York hedge fund billionaire John Paulson, who POLITICO writes "became famous for enriching himself by betting on the collapse of the housing industry."

 

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