The top political donors in the U.S. gave candidates, parities and political action committees more than $150 million during 2012. Most of those funds were contributed to the Republican party or its candidates. The majority of those donors are men, according to a study that analyzes campaign finance data and statistics.
The Public Campaign, an advocacy group that is based in Washington, released the data just a week before the Supreme Court will hear arguments in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission. The case revolves around the constitutionality of campaign contribution limits.
If the court strikes down the current limits, it could result in larger contributions from donors who gave the maximum limit in the 2012 elections, according to Public Campaign. The 2012 election cycle was the most expensive on record, and involved more than $6 billion in spending across the federal campaign level, according to The Center for Responsive Politics, a Washington research group.
A study conducted by The Public Campaign showed 1,219 individual donors contributed at least $105,300 to candidates, party committees, and political action committees during 2012. That figure is within 10 percent of the aggregate limit of $117,000. The data releases information about disclosed contributions made by individuals, and not contributions made by corporations, unions or undisclosed group contributions.
The analysis revealed that money from the top donors totaled more than $150 million. When that amount is broken down, 56 percent went to Republicans and 41 percent went to Democrats. The rest of the contributions were for third-party candidates or PACs (political action committees). Nearly nine out of every 10 donors contributed more than 90 percent to one single party. Slightly more than a quarter of the donors, who listed gender, are female.
Also according to the analysis, three of the five richest Americans gave the maximum amount that contribution limit permitted, which was $117,000 during 2012. Prominent Republican supporters for 2012 included Larry Ellison, the founder and CEO of Oracle, the software giant, and David and Charles Koch, the brothers who operate Koch Industries.
Out of the nation’s 100 wealthiest citizens, more than a fourth of them gave the contribution limit. The study revealed that 29 percent of those large donors are employed in finance related work and one-tenth are lawyers or lobbyists.
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