Sunday, January 23, 2022

Buying Democracy


Americans for Tax Fairness on Friday published a report showing that U.S. billionaires donated a staggering $1.2 billion into the 2020 elections.

ATF's analysis, the distribution of billionaire cash between Republican and Democratic candidates was pretty evenly split in 2020, with 55% of the total going to GOP campaigns.

"In the 2010 election cycle, billionaires gave $19 million to Republicans and $11 million to Democrats," ATF noted. "By the 2020 cycle, those respective figures were $656 million and $539 million."

Nearly a third of the billionaire campaign funding in 2020 came from the mega-rich couple Sheldon and Miriam Adelson—former President Donald Trump's top donors—and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who doled out $152.5 million during the 2020 election cycle, not including the $1.1 billion he spent on his own short-lived White House bid.

Democratic businessman Tom Steyer, his wife Kathryn Taylor, and Republican hedge fund manager Ken Griffin also spent big in 2020, collectively donating over $400 million.

Frank Clemente, ATF's executive director, said in a statement that the findings lay bare the "disastrous" consequences of the high court's 2010 ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which toppled longstanding campaign finance restrictions and opened the floodgates to unlimited election spending by corporations and rich individuals.

And the reason billionaires have so much cash to give to political campaigns, Clemente stressed, is that they've been able to accumulate vast fortunes without any real threat of higher taxes. 

ATF argued that such campaign donations "are a profitable investment: they buy access to politicians and influence over tax and other policies that can save tycoons billions of dollars."

"While that $1.2 billion 'investment' in 2020 was massive, it totalled less than 0.1% of billionaire wealth (and less than one day's worth of their pandemic wealth growth), leaving almost unlimited room for future growth in billionaire campaign spending," the group warned.

'Time for Citizens United to Go': US Oligarchs Poured $1.2 Billion Into 2020 Elections (

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