Politics Magazine

The 1% Of The 1% Are Taking Control Our Elections

Posted on the 16 May 2015 by Jobsanger
The 1% Of The 1% Are Taking Control Our Elections
It is no secret that mega-donors (the 1% of the 1%) are starting to control the elections in this country, and they are doing it with the huge donations they make. They chart above shows where those donations went in the 2014 election (and the giving in 2016 will surely dwarf that 2014 giving, with the Koch brothers alone planning to donate nearly $900,000,000). Here is part of an article from the Sunlight Foundation. There is much more, and it makes very interesting (and frightening) reading.
In the 2014 elections, 31,976 donors — equal to roughly one percent of one percent of the total population of the United States — accounted for an astounding $1.18 billion in disclosed political contributions at the federal level. Those big givers — what we have termed the "Political One Percent of the One Percent" — have a massively outsized impact on federal campaigns.
They’re mostly male, tend to be city-dwellers and often work in finance. Slightly more of them skew Republican than Democratic. A small subset — barely five dozen — earned the (even more) rarefied distinction of giving more than $1 million each. And a minute cluster of three individuals contributed more than $10 million apiece.
The last election cycle set records as the most expensive midterms in U.S. history, and the country’s most prolific donors accounted for a larger portion of the total amount raised than in either of the past two elections.
The $1.18 billion they contributed represents 29 percent of all fundraising that political committees disclosed to the Federal Election Commission in 2014. That’s a greater share of the total than in 2012 (25 percent) or in 2010 (21 percent).
It's just one of the main takeaways in the latest edition of the Political One Percent of the One Percent, a joint analysis of elite donors in America by the Center for Responsive Politics and the Sunlight Foundation
When former Sunlight fellow Lee Drutman first reported on the One Percent of the One Percent, he noted that these deep-pocketed donors were increasingly playing the role of "political gatekeepers." Candidates needed their backing — and cash — as did the parties and super PACs that depended on the support of the politically active elite.
Now, in the first full midterm since the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, our joint analysis finds that the influence of the One Percent of the One Percent has only continued to grow. . .
Wall Street maintained its perch as the most influential sector among the One Percent of the One Percent, both in the number of donors that made the list and the money given. Individuals that listed a job in securities spent about $175 million in 2014, of which $107.5 million went to committees supporting Republicans. . .
The most jarring difference between the One Percent of the One Percent in 2014 and 2010, the last midterm cycle, is how “top heavy” the donor list has become. A small subgroup of these elite donors is the driving force behind its growing share of political money.

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