Republicans are the party of the rich and evil and Democrats are the party of the deserving poor, the downtrodden, the “pure as the driven snow” underclass. That ’s not true of course, but it’s what a lot of Americans have traditionally believed and many still do, or at least they profess that they do. In fact, it’s about as false as anything could be. Democrats have the big corporate CEOs and Wall Street moguls exclusively in their camp, so how on earth could it be true? It’s not for nothing that Obama is often called President Goldman Sachs.
I set out to find just who the really big political donors are and to which party they give their money. I found what seems to be a pretty good website called Opensecrets.org which lists the 100 top political donors in 2014 and breaks down their contributions by the amount they gave to Democrats and Republicans. The figures are based on data released by the FEC on 03/09/15 and the IRS on 5/12/15. Only campaign contributions to Federal candidates, parties, political action committees, 527 organizations, and Carey committees were included.
Bear in mind, these are only Federal donations. Donors to state and local parties and organizations are not included. So for example, Billionaire George Soros is shown as giving only $3.8 million although he spends many millions promoting Democrat nostrums and causes. His stated life mission is to use his wealth to destroy conservatives and Republicans.
Of the four Colorado billionaire Democrats making up the “Gang of Four,” only Pat Stryker’s name appears and the amount shown as her Federal contributions ($1.9 million) are only a fraction of the amount she is known to give to or spend on behalf of Democrats in Colorado.
One obvious error appears in the listing by OpenSecrets. They show Michael Bloomberg’s total campaign contribution as $28.5 million but his combined contributions to Democrats and Republicans as only $11 million. I counted only the $11 million shown for both parties.
OpenSecrets.org is the website of a group calling themselves the Center for Responsive Politics. Of course, I wondered what political stripe they might be. Here is their mission statement: The Center for Responsive Politics is the nation’s premier research group tracking money in U.S. politics and its effect on elections and public policy. Nonpartisan, independent and nonprofit, the organization aims to create a more educated voter, an involved citizenry and a more transparent and responsive government.
OK, they claim at least to be non-partisan. If that’s true, they are a pretty rare bunch for the times.
The website doesn’t add up the total for the 100 top donors, although it does break out the split between the parties. I did the addition of the millions, ignoring the last 3 digits in each number, and got these results:
Total contributions for 2014 were $165 million to Democrats and $110 million to Republicans. Not all, but nearly all donors gave 95% or more to one party or the other. Those who self identify as solidly with one of the parties over the other were fairly evenly split. No Independent here. The largest donors were Tom Steyer ($75 million) and Michael Bloomberg ($11 million) with Steyer giving 100% to Democrats and Bloomberg (alleged to be a Republican) giving 95% to Democrats. Bloomberg is another one who spends millions on behalf of liberal Democrats that do not constitute donations and thus are not included in the numbers gathered by OpenSecrets.org.
If you believe such strident Democrats as Harry Reid, or partisan Democrat operatives with bylines such as Washington Post reporter Dana Milbank, The Koch Brothers are the only high dollar political donors in America. They gave a total of $7.8 million, 100% to Republicans. That paltry amount puts them pretty far down the list of this group of Fat Cats.
Evidence abounds from this and many other sources that what Americans traditionally believed about the Democrat and Republican parties is no longer true, if it ever was. I say the Democrats are the party of the rich, but you might prefer to say that both parties are a party of the rich. Democrats more so, though. Especially if you count the amounts spent by George Soros, Tom Steyer, Pat Stryker, and Michael Bloomberg to advance Democrat causes but which do not count as campaign contributions. Democrats have a lock on that type of political spending.
UPDATE: Campaign contributions to 2016 presidential candidates for 3rd quarter 2015 are just in:
Hillary Clinton — $29.4 million
Bernie Sanders* — $26.2 million
Webb, Chaffee & O’Malley raised statistically insignificant amounts.
Ben Carson* — $20.8 million
Jeb Bush — $13.3 million
Ted Cruz* — $12.2 million
Donald Trump — $5.8 million (Trump spends his own money and does solicit campaign donations. His supporters sent him $5.8 million anyway, made up almost entirely of very small donations)
All others were well below $10 million
*The majority of contributions to Sanders, Carson and Cruz came from donors giving $200 or less. Clinton and Bush rely mostly on large donors, many of whom are likely expecting something in return for their money. Especially Clinton since so much of her money comes from foreign donations to the Clinton
Crime Family Foundation. Foreigners have no reason to contribute to U.S. candidates other than the expectation of special favors. That’s why foreign donations are illegal, except to the Clintons who are immune from the laws the rest of us have to obey. Just ask General David Petraeus. It was common and public knowledge that Chinese money flowed into Bill Clinton’s 1996 campaign coffers. Nothing happened to him.
Candidates cash on hand at end of 3rd quarter
Clinton — $33 million
Sanders — $27 million
Cruz — $14 million
Carson — $11 million
Rubio — $11 million
Jeb Bush — $10 million
Trump — his fortune
From Ricochet’s Daily Shot: If you count Super PAC donations, Republican candidates have raised more than twice what Democrats have pulled in. [You can bet that most of the Republican Super PACs are supporting Jeb Bush. PACs are prohibited by law from coordinating with the candidates. They support candidates by running campaign ads that suggest support for the candidate, but must do do so without coordination with the candidate]