Money and politics are a bit like milk and cookies: You can’t really have one without the other.
While that’s always been true, the dynamic shifted dramatically in 2010 when super PACs entered the fray, courtesy the Supreme Court case Citizens United v. FEC. The new setup has some political prognosticators anticipating a presidential election that costs upward of $5 billion.
Although Election Day is still months away, super PACs already have raised piles and piles of cash for their preferred candidates and causes. Of the 2016 White House hopefuls still in the race, Hillary Clinton has received the most super PAC support. The three super PACs backing the former secretary of state have raised a combined $94,588,442, according to the most recent campaign finance filings with the Federal Election Commission.
An InsideGov analysis of the data reveals that seven-figure contributions from just 24 people dominate pro-Clinton super PAC fundraising. Those donors have given a combined $65,642,904 to the three super PACs — accounting for about 69 percent of the combined total the groups have raised.
InsideGov examines the people who have given at least $1 million to pro-Clinton super PACs, ranking the list from smallest to largest contribution. In the event of a tie, people are listed alphabetically. The data reflects the most recent filings, which include fundraising figures through April 30, 2016.
* Note: Unlike candidate committees, super PACs can collect and spend unlimited sums of money. They cannot collaborate with the official campaign, and therefore cannot pay for things like campaign staffers’ salaries or a candidate’s travel. But super PACs can cut ads and distribute materials that support a specific candidate.
The three super PACs supporting Clinton’s presidential campaign are Priorities USA Action, American Bridge 21st Century and Correct the Record. Read InsideGov’s previous analysis of the groups and their fundraising here.
Total Amount Given to Pro-Clinton Super PACs: $3 million
Daniel Abraham is the billionaire founder of dieting shake company Slim-Fast.
In 1989, Abraham founded the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace, which advocates for a two-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict in the Middle East. In 2010, while secretary of state, Hillary Clinton spoke at a dedication ceremony in D.C. for the center. The Associated Press reported that, according to scheduling calendars retrieved with a Freedom of Information Act request, Clinton met with Abraham at least three times and was scheduled for another three meetings while at the State Department.
Herbert M. Sandler is a banker-turned-philanthropist. He currently lives in San Francisco.
Total Amount Given to Pro-Clinton Super PACs: $3.235 million
Laure Woods is a Bay Area philanthropist with a background in clinical research. She currently heads up the Bay Area Lyme Foundation. Woods is an active Democratic donor in Northern California, giving money to a handful of super PACs focused on abortion rights and electing women into political office.
Total Amount Given to Pro-Clinton Super PACs: $3.25 million
J.B. Pritzker runs a venture capital firm, and he and his wife lead the Pritzker Family Foundation, which focuses on early childhood development. (Full disclosure:Pritzker Group Venture Capital is aninvestor in Graphiq, the parent company of InsideGov.)
In 2008, J.B. Pritzker was a national co-chair for Clinton’s presidential campaign, breaking with his sister, Penny, who supported then-Sen. Barack Obama’s White House bid. Penny Pritzker was the national finance chair for Obama’s 2008 campaign and the national co-chair of Obama’s 2012 campaign, and is the current secretary of the Department of Commerce. J.B. and Penny’s father, Donald Pritzker, was a co-founder and president of the Hyatt hotel chain; the Pritzker family is one of the wealthiest in America,according to Forbes.
M.K. Pritzker is married to J.B. Pritzker. The husband-and-wife duo have given a combined $6.5 million to pro-Clinton super PACs.
Total Amount Given to Pro-Clinton Super PACs: $TK amount
Donald Sussman is a hedge fund manager who runs investment firm Paloma Partners. He lives in Rye Brook, a suburban community in New York that borders Connecticut.
Total Amount Given to Pro-Clinton Super PACs: $5 million
Philanthropist Cheryl Saban runs theSelf-Worth Foundation, which advocates for gender equality and women’s empowerment. She is married to entertainment industry guru Haim Saban, and the two are bigwigs among Hollywood’s left-leaning political donors.
In May 2015, less than a month after she announced her presidential bid, Hillary Clinton attended a fundraiser for her campaign at the Sabans’ L.A.-area home, where guests were asked to give $2,700 to attend.
Haim Saban and his wife, Cheryl, have given a combined $10,000,000 to pro-Clinton super PACs. The Sabans are longtime Clinton friends, supporting campaigns for both Bill and Hillary and giving significantly to the Clinton Foundation.
Total Amount Given to Pro-Clinton Super PACs: $7 million
Billionaire hedge fund managerJames Simons is a Democratic-leaning donor who founded investment firm Renaissance Technologies in 1982. He has given $7 million to pro-Clinton super PACs.
Simons is a longtime business associate of Henry Laufer, who worked at Renaissance Technologies with Simons. Laufer and his wife, Marsha, have also chipped in to pro-Clinton super PACs, to the tune of a combined $2.5 million.
Total Amount Given to Pro-Clinton Super PACs: $9 million
George Soros is the largest backer of pro-Clinton super PACs, giving a total of $9 million this cycle. He is a hedge fund manager out of New York who isamong the wealthiest people in America and is a frequent Democratic donor.
Cross-posted from Graphiq.
Photo by US Embassy New Zealand