Surprise, Surprise! Top 2014 political donors gave overwhelmingly to… Democrats

Obama, Reid, and Pelosi

Democrats took a thumping in the 2014 midterm elections. And though Harry Reid and many of his colleagues actually campaigned against the influence of money in politics, a POLITICO report reveals (not surprisingly) that Democrats were the recipients of millions in campaign contributions from wealthy businessmen.

Kenneth Vogel writes:

POLITICO’s analysis of top 2014 donors suggests that liberals have gotten over their big-money qualms.

Donors who gave exclusively or primarily to Democratic candidates and groups held down 52 of the top 100 spots — including by far the biggest donor of disclosed 2014 cash: retired San Francisco hedge fund billionaire Tom Steyer.

He donated more than $74 million to Democratic candidates and supportive committees, but it was the way he gave that highlighted both the potential impact and the limitations of the new breed of mega-donor to shape elections.

Like a handful of the top 100 donors, Steyer spent the majority of his political cash — $66.9 million — through a super PAC he created and funded to pursue his main issue: elevating climate change in the political debate. Yet the PAC, NextGen Climate Action, won only three of the seven races in which it spent cash, prompting grumbling from ostensible allies that he may have overestimated voters’ — and his fellow liberal donors’ — interest in the issue, and that he misspent his cash on sometimes bizarre ads accusing Republican candidates of being beholden to Big Oil and challenging the Koch brothers, whose multinational industrial conglomerate includes a substantial fossil fuel portfolio, to a debate on climate change.

Of course, for those of us paying attention the past few election cycles, this really is no surprise.

Of the $173.9 million spent by the top ten donors during the 2014 cycle, more than two-thirds of those contributions were funneled into liberal or Democrat causes. The top two donors — liberal investor Tom Steyer and former New York City Mayor and notorious gun-grabber Michael Bloomberg — gave three out of every five dollars spent among the top ten donors.

The top 100 donors gave a combined $323 million, meaning the top ten donors gave just over half of the full amount the top 100 gave.

David Koch, the conservative billionaire liberals love to demonize (even though he an his brother, Charles, support some socially liberal ideas), barely made it into the top ten, according to POLITICO’s analysis.

Vogel further reveals Democrats also raked in the small-dollar donations this cycle, a big change from the 2010 midterms:

Meanwhile, the smaller money, a category Republicans won in the last midterm cycle, swung to favor Democrats in 2014. When micro-contributions of $200 or less were tallied through Oct. 15 — the period covered by the most recent FEC reports that CRP had comprehensively analyzed — Democrats were outraising Republicans by a total of $205.3 million to $150.7 million.

But John Jordan, a California businessman who gave more than $2 million to conservatives in 2014, suggests small-dollar donors are important, too. “Small donor activity is probably the best leading indicator for voter intensity in your own party,” he said. “A fired-up activist is going to talk to friends and neighbors, is going to post on Facebook, is going to volunteer at the campaign. So a small donor’s value is really much greater than a small contribution.”

The Democrats have seemingly mastered the art of acquiring small-dollar donations, routinely asking for amounts as small as $3 in email solicitations.

But this report puts to rest the notion that Democrats don’t want money in politics and exposes Barack Obama, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi for the campaign finance hypocrites they are.


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