Most influential Rich - Protect their interests
- Most influential Rich Protect their Interests
- Top Donors
- Top GOP Activists
- Top Democratic Activists
- Activism - beyond just money
- Election Reform, Transparency, Democracy and other causes
- Debt and Pensions Reform
- Health Activism
- The richest are Conservative, Protect their own interests
- Stealthy Rich push PACs, Lobby but stay almost entirely silent about those issues in public
- Rich have assembled political networks/consortia - Influence across breadth and Hundreds of Millions of Dollars
- Epstein showed Hidden secrets, Blackmail, Control of Powerful - Clintons, Princes possibly even Gates
- Jeff Bezos - Bent on Gaining more wealth
- Koch heavily Right and their powerful consortia Americans for Prosperity
- Left of Center influential - philanthropists-pretenders
- VERY FEW VOCAL - tend to misrepresent majority as liberal
- Warren Buffett - left-of-center hi
- Bill Gates - left-of-center hi philanthropist
- Michael Bloomberg - left-of-center hi philanthropist - Proactive Democratic Party
- Tom Steyer - Democratic Party - Young people and environmental issues
Most influential Rich Protect their Interests
|Donor||Net Worth||Wealth||$m||Lean||Special causes|
|Michael Bloomberg||$52b||$95||Bloomberg Investing Software||Democrat|
|Tom Steyer||$1.6b||Farallon Cap HF||$73.8||Democrat|
|S. Donald Sussman||?||Paloma Partners HF||$27.5||Democrat||Top donor to Hillary Clinton'16|
|James Simons||$22b||HF Renaissance Tech||$22||Democrat|
|George Soros||$8b||HF Forex||$20||Democrat|
|Karla Jurvetson||?||ex-wife of VC Jurvetson||$12||Democrat||Pro-Choice|
|Timothy Mellon||$1b||Mellon/Railroad Hier||$10||Republican|
|Deborah Simon||?7b||Simon Property Hieress||$9.7||Democrat|
|George Marcus||$1.5b||Real Estate Marcus&Millichap||$9.6||Democrat|
|Joshua Bekenstein||?||PE Bain||$7.7||Democrat|
|Dustin Moskovitz||12b||$7.7||Democrat||health and LGBTQ+|
|Paul Skjodt||?b||Real Estate||6.8||Democrat||Samerian Foundation - education,sports - created $20m anti-holocaust center|
|Paul Singer||$3.5b||HF||6.5||Left||LGBTQ+, same sex marriage - gave $2m to GOP for this|
|Jeff Bezos||$108b||Amazon||$10||60/40 Rep/Demo|
|Sheldon Adelson||$34b||Casinos||$123||Republican||Top Trump supporter, Heavy Israel anti-Iran|
|Richard Uihlein||$1-2b||Shipping Boxes Uline||$39.8||Republican|
|Kenneth Griffin||$13b||Citadel HF||$19||Republican|
|Stephen Schwarzman||$17b||PE Blackstone||12.9||Republican|
|Charles Schwab||$8b||Schwab Brokerage||$8.5||Republican|
|Jeffrey Yass||?||Stock Trading||$7.6||Right||Susquehanna|
|Ronald Cameron||?||Chicken||$6.6b||Right||Mountaire Corp is 7th largest chicken producer|
|Bernard Marcus||6.5b||Home Depot||$8||Republican|
|Robert Mercer||$?||HF||$6.5||Right||Breitbart News, heavy Trump supporters|
Data for 2018 - however, it fluctuates widely year after year
West index of influence - https://www.brookings.edu/interactives/u-s-billionaires-political-power-index/#.VAygNvL-EfM.twitter
Top GOP Activists
Adelson spent a whopping $93 million "seeking to defeat President Barack Obama in 2012" and promised to spend two times that much next election. He also seems ready to spend an additional $100 million on this year's Senate races to help thwart vulnerable Democrats. Adelson is so powerful that important that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie personally apologized to him in private for making remarks on Israel that offended the billionaire.
Charles and David Koch have contributed $30 million in "campaign ads targeting vulnerable Senate Democrats in a number of states" but that number "is expected to rise to $300+ million by Election Day." Plus, they are running ads against Obama's health care act. While their direct donations are staggering, the duo's real political power lies in a complicated network of nonprofits and limited-liability companies used to bundle and shuttle their and like-minded rich folks' money across the country.
Donald Trump is a media moghul and routinely comments on numerous political issues and has succeeded in amassing a large following of conservatives.
Rupert Murdoch, between 1990 and 2011, (whose net worth was valued at $12.5 billion in 2013) funded federal candidates and political committees to the tune of at least $750,000. About 80% of that, more than $600,000, went to Republicans, though he also donated about $6,500 to Hillary Clinton during her time as a U.S. Senator.
In 2010, News Corp. handed $1 million to the Republican Governors Association, leading Democrats to demand that his media networks air disclaimers on their political bias. But most of Murdoch's political influence lies with his media empire, which in 2013 split into the entertainment division 21st Century Fox and a successor News Corp., which collectively owns major media outlets ranging from the Wall Street Journal to the New York Post.
Art Pope was North Carolina's state budget director and has been influential in the resurgence of the GOP in the state.
Peter Thiel contributed $2.6 million to the super PAC for Ron Paul in 2012, and he recently expressed support for increased minimum wage.
Top Democratic Activists
Soros gave $1 million to Obama in 2012 and signed up as the finance co-chair of the "Ready for Hillary" super PAC.
Bloomberg is donating $50 million against the NRA with his super PAC Independence USA. He also has the nonprofit organizations Mayors Against Illegal Guns, Everytown for Gun Safety, and Partnership for a New American Economy. Including electoral expenses, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg spent an astonishing $650 million of his own money during his three terms helming America's largest city. The beneficiaries of his buying spree include a dizzying array of causes, from audio guides and Wi-Fi at the Metropolitan Museum of Art to a gigantic set of fish tanks in the lobby of city hall.
Alice Walton, one of the Wal-Mart fortune heirs, is an early backer of Hillary Clinton's "Ready for Hillary" super PAC.
Tom Steyer will be spending about $100 million of it on environmental causes this election season through his NextGen Climate PAC, which bills itself as working to prevent "climate disaster and preserve American prosperity." Steyer's money will hit seven campaigns; he also raised just over a million dollars as a bundler for Obama in 2012.
Buffett has been a strong Obama supporter and advocates higher taxes on wealthy individuals. He was instrumental in proposing and advocating for the "Buffett Rule," which would have implemented a minimum tax rate of 30% for all taxpayers making $1 million or more a year. Though defeated in Congress, the Buffett Rule played a key political role as a talking point from its invention in 2011 through the 2012 presidential elections. Buffet, worth $67.7 billion, is also a key Obama fundraiser, though his actual contributions are quite modest in comparison to others. In 2010, he pledged to give 99% of his money to charity, primarily through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Penny Pritzker worth $2.5b is an Obama supporter and served as U.S. Secretary of Commerce in his administration. She ran Obama's finance operations in 2008 and raised more than half a million as a bundler in 2012, making her a powerful component of Obama's fundraising system. Additionally, Pritzker donated to more than 70 Senate candidates between 1990 and 2013, including 9 out of 13 of the majority members of the committee responsible for reviewing her nomination to the cabinet.
Activism - beyond just money
Marc Andreessen the VC backed GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney in 2012. He's interested in the future of journalism — and in particular, the swift transition from traditional media to digital.
Peter G. Peterson argues for the reduction of government debt and with his foundation has funded organizations such as Fix the Debt and the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.
Election Reform, Transparency, Democracy and other causes
Pierre and Pamela Omidyar criticized U.S. surveillance, and their foundation works on government transparency, property rights, and economic development.
Mark Zuckerberg works on immigration reform with the FWD.us organization and has pushed for school reform in Newark, New Jersey.
Rupert Murdoch owns both the Wall Street Journal and Fox News — two major news organizations. Plus, he works with Bloomberg on immigration reform.
Debt and Pensions Reform
John and Laura Arnold have contributed millions to state lawmakers in order to shift costs to employees and reduce pension benefits.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has been extremely influential in education reform and contributed $100,000 to support same-sex marriage in a Washington state referendum.
The richest are Conservative, Protect their own interests
Most of 100 wealthiest US billionaires – who are much less visible and less reported on – more closely resemble Charles Koch.
They are extremely conservative on economic issues: with cutting taxes, especially estate taxes – which apply only to the wealthiest Americans.
Protective of their Power Bases and opposed to government regulation of the environment or big banks.
Non-Liberal/Anti-Populist - Unenthusiastic about government programs to help with jobs, incomes, – programs supported by large majorities of Americans.
Anti-healthcare Reform - both against Obamacare, many spread Opiods (Sackler family,etc) or abuse Pharma/Healthcare profits
Pushing to cut deficits and shrink government by cutting
STRONGLY against wealth Tax - wanting it abolished.
The Guardian study discovered quiet activity by 12 of the wealthiest billionaires – including the Kochs and inheritors of the Walton and Mars fortunes – aimed specifically at cutting or abolishing the estate tax. They gave money to policy-oriented organizations seeking to abolish the tax, or founded such organizations, and served on their boards. Not a single billionaire took such activity to support the estate tax. However those who actually spoke out, most supported the estate tax like Gates, Buffett, and Bloomberg.
Against retirement pensions and pushing to privatize guaranteed social security benefits.
Social security benefits cannot be expanded due to demographic change, or keep up with REAL inflation to keep all retirees’ incomes well above the poverty line - very few advocate either, even liberals prefer to ignore the problem. HOWEVER, conservative billionaire like Pete Peterson (co-founder of the Blackstone PE) fear that continuing high government spending and deficits would erode bond values where they have made their billions. Therefore they want
- guaranteed benefits should be cut, perhaps through less generous cost-of-living adjustments,
- Some want to end guaranteed benefits entirely with private accounts subject to stock-market fluctuations
- They oppose removing the low “cap” on income subject to payroll taxes ie making the wealthy pay more
Stealthy Rich push PACs, Lobby but stay almost entirely silent about those issues in public
Behind the scenes the wealthiest US billionaires have made substantial financial contributions – amounting to hundreds of thousands of reported dollars annually, and undisclosed “dark money” contributions – to conservative Republican candidates and officials. At the same time, they have said NOTHING in public either way, hiding their true feelings.
The reason for STEALTH POLITICS is to hide their support for very unpopular actions like cutting rather than expanding social security benefits.
This is a deliberate choice. Billionaires have plenty of media access, but most of them choose not to say anything at all about the policy issues of the day. They deliberately pursue a strategy of what we call “stealth politics”.
Rich have assembled political networks/consortia - Influence across breadth and Hundreds of Millions of Dollars
The Koch brothers become so powerful using a political fertile field of less-well-known conservative billionaires to cultivate for hundreds of millions of dollars in in secret, unreported contributions. The Kochs’ entrepreneurship and organizational skills, together with stealthy contributions by these little-known billionaires, have produced a political juggernaut.
Epstein showed Hidden secrets, Blackmail, Control of Powerful - Clintons, Princes possibly even Gates
Jeff Bezos - Bent on Gaining more wealth
Koch heavily Right and their powerful consortia Americans for Prosperity
The two brothers have vast resources to invest in politics, commanding over $50bn each from their ownership of Koch Industries. That company, which the brothers inherited from their father, has grown under their leadership to become one of the largest privately held conglomerates in the United States, with activities spread across dozens of industries, including chemical manufacturing, energy production, paper production, and ranching.
Charles and David Koch, mega-donors to ultra-conservative causes and a fierce embrace of free markets and limited government.
- ATTACK UNIONS esp. PUBLIC EMPLOYEES that support LIBERAL CAUSES. By permanently weakening their support base, AFP hopes to crumble democratic party votes also. In particular, Koch Bros argue that Democrats “had the public employee unions … which have only gotten stronger, have only gotten better-funded, have only gotten better organized”.
- If you look at the liberal public pensions that undermine financial health of bicoastal Democratic states like NY,CA,NJ,IL, etc. teachers, firefighter, police and state/local employee unions get million dollar packages, and retirement pensions a high fraction of their last wages, sometimes for barely 20 years of work.
In recent years, their AFP has quietly pushed behind the scenes for many of the most important conservative victories across the nation, including the anti-union bills that passed in former union strongholds such as Wisconsin, Michigan, and Ohio.
In Wisconsin, AFP got Republican governor, Scott Walker, to slash the union rights held by most public workers.
- Walker argued that budget woes in the state necessitated the shift, and barrelled forward to eliminate the rights of virtually all public-sector workers to collectively bargain with government and to allow government employees to opt out of paying dues to their unions.
- As a candidate, Walker barely mentioned collective bargaining or union busting but support from AFP etc got him elected.
- Before the legislation popped up on the agenda, Wisconsinites generally supported collective bargaining.
- Nationally, only about 40% of American adults favor curbs to public sector bargaining rights, and in Wisconsin, this minority level of support was about the same.
- They have achieved impact union membership declining eg from 50% in 2011 to 19% by 2017.
- Campaign contributions by teachers’ unions to state and local races have fallen by nearly 70% in Wisconsin.
In presidential elections, Democrats lose around three percentage points after the passage of anti-union legislation, and turnout dips by around two points. So while there are many factors that might explain Donald Trump’s surprise win in Wisconsin in 2016 by a mere 23,000 votes, a weaker labor movement less able to turn out Democratic voters might have been one important contributor to Trump’s victory.
FOUR YEARS OF DETAILED WORK IN WISCONSIN. It has for years been in the organization-building sights of the massive Koch political network, at the core of which are regular gatherings of hundreds of conservative wealth holders who channel donations year after year to political organizations closely coordinated by Charles and David Koch and their top lieutenants. Since the 1980s they have steadily ramped up their political involvement and by now have constructed a vast network of organizations that pool hundreds of millions of dollars from their own pockets and other wealthy donors each year in support of conservative idea generation, leadership training, election campaigning and policy advocacy.
AFP is at the center of their network and is extraneous organization outside Republican party.
- It focuses on both elections and policy battles at all levels of government, from city councils to Congress and the White House. Although its activities are mostly centrally directed from its headquarters in Virginia, AFP has active local, state and regional offices that reflect the federated nature of US politics. Since it is funded by remote puppeteers, the grassroots participants do not have much say in the direction of the group, AFP has nearly 3 million citizen activists signed up to mobilize for candidates and policy causes. Activists participate in rallies or protests and contact elected officials at the direction of more than 500 paid staffers nationwide. Taken together, AFP’s grassroots volunteers and staffing rival those of the Republican party itself.
AFP is not a free-standing political party – but instead is an extra-party organization that parallels and leverages Republican candidates and office-holders. By providing resources to support GOP candidates and officials, and exerting leverage on them once elected, AFP has been able to pull the Republican party to the far right on economic, tax and regulatory issues.
Left of Center influential - philanthropists-pretenders
VERY FEW VOCAL - tend to misrepresent majority as liberal
The VERY FEW billionaires who have spoken out about liberal issues like estate tax social security – like Buffett and Soros – have supported a generous social security system in television interviews and newspaper op-eds. So if you take them as "representative", you will miss that vast mat
Warren Buffett - left-of-center hi
Bill Gates - left-of-center hi philanthropist
Michael Bloomberg - left-of-center hi philanthropist - Proactive Democratic Party
The former New York mayor is known for his advocacy of gun control, gay rights, and environmental protection.
Tom Steyer - Democratic Party - Young people and environmental issues
- Think billionaires are just super-rich people? Big mistake | Arwa Mahdawi study of top 100 by Guardian
Book: Billionaires and Stealth Politics, By enjamin I Page, Jason Seawright, and Matthew J Lacombe in 2018 with the University of Chicago Press.
- The ultra-wealthy Americans funding politics, ranked by size of donation in 2018 - Business Insider
- Most Politically Influential Billionaires - Business Insider
- The 10 most influential billionaires in politics - The Washington Post
- These are the 10 Billionaires Who Influence Politics in America the Most
- These are the billionaires hoping to influence elections that will determine control of Congress - Los Angeles Times
- The Ultra-Rich Are Ultra-Conservative
- The Top 10 Billionaire Political Donors of 2019 (So Far) - Worth
- Richest billionaires are also top political spenders
- How Bad Are Billionaire Politicians for Democracy?
- Billionaires and American Politics - CounterPunch.org
- The 100 Richest Americans Are Shaping Politics, Study Says | Fortune
- Jim Nowlan: The trouble with billionaire money in politics - Opinion - Journal Standard - Freeport, IL
- Bernie Sanders: America is controlled by a few multi-billionaires