Almost 50 percent of the money raised so far in the 2016 Presidential Election campaigns comes from less than 400 wealthy families. This is an unprecedented concentration of political donors thanks to new allowances in fundraising rules.
The New York Times recently conducted a study of IRS records and FEC reports and found that the majority of White House hopefuls rely on a small number of the most affluent Americans to raise campaign funds. And according to the research, this is more true of Republican candidates than Democratic candidates.
Thanks to looser policies and regulations on fundraising, this has given way to the super PACs. As of June of this year, GOP candidates and their super PACs have brought in more than half of their money from roughly 130 American families and their ventures.
To date, the entire filed has raised $388 million in campaign funding, and while candidates and their teams are happy to accept $20 here and there from the average American citizen, it appears it is a vary small pool of very wealthy people that is their bread and butter.
While many wealthy donors give to a single candidate, not all of them do. Robert Mercer of the hedge fund world has given $11.3 million to Republican candidates. Most of it has gone to Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, but small portions of Mercer’s money has also gone to Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and Carly Fiorina. Businesswoman Jenny Craig has also given money to multiple hopefuls.
There are other traditional donors who in the past have backed one candidate but our now helping multiple candidates. For example, Idaho businessman Frank VanderSloot, who was a key supporter of Mitt Romney during the 2012 campaign, supports both Senator Marco Rubio of Florida and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.
To date, 64 individuals and groups have donated at least $1 million in the 2016 presidential race.