Billionaires’ Political Spending Grew 37-Fold in 10 Years
WASHINGTON — Billionaires gave 37 times as much in political contributions in the last election as they did 10 years earlier, according to a new study.
During the 2018 election cycle, billionaires gave $611 million, up from $17 million in 2008, according to the report from Americans for Tax Fairness and The Institute for Policy Studies.
They are now also playing a much bigger role. In 2008, donations from billionaires were less than 1% of all political contributions, but by 2018 they made up nearly 10%, the study found.
“Billionaires have an outsized influence on our economy, politics and society,” said Frank Clemente, executive director of Americans for Tax Fairness, a liberal advocacy group.
The report cites the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which struck down campaign spending limits on corporations and labor unions, leading to a wave of outside spending in federal elections.
Both parties have benefited from the flood of new contributions from billionaires.
The study showed that billionaires gave more than twice as much to Republicans in the 2012 election, but just 20% more to the GOP in the 2016 election, and slightly more to Democrats in the 2018 midterms.
From 1990 through May of this year, the top billionaire donors included Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, casino magnates who favor Republicans, at $308 million; Tom Steyer, a hedge fund manager who backs Democrats and liberal causes, at $275 million; and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has given to both, at $181 million.
(Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.)
The totals do not include Steyer’s and Bloomberg’s unsuccessful campaigns for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020. In that primary, Steyer spent $340 million and Bloomberg spent more than $1 billion.
©2020 Bloomberg News
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
In The News
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Sheldon Adelson, founder, chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands, has passed away at the age of 87 from complications related to treatment for non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma , the casino company announced Tuesday. At one point the third richest man in the world,... Read More
WASHINGTON — Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Monday she would press ahead early next year with a campaign finance and elections overhaul, even as the measure may face the same Senate fate it did this Congress: doom. House Democrats passed their signature overhaul measure in March 2019 and dubbed it HR 1, indicating its priority. Senate... Read More
WASHINGTON — Unlike in 2018, this year's "green wave" of Democratic money didn't produce a "blue wave" of victories, thanks in part to a super PAC that helped Republicans close the spending gap. Congressional Leadership Fund, a group aligned with House GOP leadership, spent more than $140 million, a record for... Read More
WASHINGTON - Over the course of the 2020 election cycle, the NewDem Action Fund has backed 31 congressional candidates by either adding them to its "watch list" or fully endorsing them. But on Friday night came word the fund, the political arm of the New Democrat... Read More
WASHINGTON — Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden started September with a $466 million mountain of cash to take on President Donald Trump and the Republicans, completely reversing the GOP’s financial advantage in just four months. In April, Biden, the Democratic nominee, had about $98 million in... Read More
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s campaign is scaling back its television advertising spending and in some cases abandoning it altogether for now in key states, facing a cash crunch brought on by huge investments in staff and operations. Trump’s reelection campaign vowed last month to saturate... Read More