The largest donors to Islamophobic groups are the related nonprofit donor-advised funds Donors Capital Fund and Donors Trust. Donors Capital Fund and Donors Trust allow conservatives looking to contribute to their favored causes to put money in a fund and then direct that money at their own discretion. This structure promises that the donor’s contributions will only ever show up on tax forms as coming from Donors Capital Fund or Donors Trust.
More than $27 million in money held in the two funds has gone to Islamophobic groups from 2001-2012, according to CAP’s reports. The largest donation made was a $17 million contribution from a single anonymous donor to the Clarion Fund to pay for the distribution of the the anti-Muslim film "Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against The West" in 2008. Gaffney sits on the board of The Clarion Fund.
It's not clear who is behind that $17 million contribution, but it could be casino billionaire and Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson. The New York Times reported in 2012 that Adelson was involved in financing the distribution of "Obsession" as a newspaper insert during the 2008 elections. Adelson also reportedly hands out copies of the movie to participants in Taglit Birthright, a program he funds sending American Jews on an all-expenses-paid trip to Israel.
In the 2012 election, Adelson and his family contributed more than $100 million to super PACs supporting Republicans. Most Republican candidates have made a pilgrimage to his Vegas hotel to meet with him. Rubio is said to have courted him through weekly phone calls. And every Republican presidential candidate, save Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), attended a Washington, D.C., event hosted by Adelson’s Republican Jewish Coalition on Dec. 3. The next Republican presidential debate is slated to be held at Adelson’s Venetian hotel and casino in Vegas.
Adelson is not the only Republican Party mega-donor who has contributed to Islamophobic groups.
Over the years, major Republican donors, including hedge fund managers Paul Singer and Seth Klarman, financier Roger Hertog and San Francisco Giants owner Charles Johnson have donated to the network. Singer’s family foundation donated $50,000 to the Center for Security Policy in 2003. The Klarman Family Foundation donated $45,000 to the Center for Security Policy between 2007 and 2009, and an additional $50,000 to the Middle East Forum in 2011. Since 2011, the Hertogs' family foundation has contributed $25,000 to the Center for Security Policy, $25,000 to the David Horowitz Freedom House and $20,000 to the Middle East Forum. Johnson’s foundation contributed $5,000 to the David Horowitz Freedom House in 2011.
A major super PAC donor and campaign bundler, Singer announced his support for Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-Fla.) presidential bid in November. The Boston-based Klarman has contributed $100,000 to the super PAC supporting New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and $25,000 to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s super PAC. Hertog has spread his money around to super PACs supporting Bush, Rubio, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), former New York Gov. George Pataki and former candidate Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal. Meanwhile, Johnson has donated $1 million to Bush’s super PAC.
Other major Republican donors appeared on a list of 2013 donors to the Center for Security Policy acquired by reporter Eli Clifton. John Templeton, a major conservative Christian donor who passed away in 2015, donated $600,000. Templeton had backed former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum’s 2012 presidential bid and was a generous donor to the Republican Party. Foster Friess, Santorum’s main super PAC money man, chipped in $10,000 to the center. Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens, a major bundler who donated $100,000 to Bush’s super PAC in 2015, contributed $50,000 to the group. New York businessman Ira Rennert, a multimillion-dollar donor to the super PAC that supported Romney, also gave $50,000.