U.S. Billionaires Poured $1.2 Billion Into the 2020 Elections

by | Jan 22, 2022 | Politics & Corruption, Wealth Gap

Molex Canada head office in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, a subsidiary of Koch Industries. Koch interests were among the heaviest backers of the Citizens United case that opened the flood gates to billionaires essentially buying elections for their preferred candidates. Photo: JHVEPhoto, iStockphoto

U.S. Billionaires Poured $1.2 Billion Into the 2020 Elections

by | Jan 22, 2022 | Politics & Corruption, Wealth Gap

Molex Canada head office in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, a subsidiary of Koch Industries. Koch interests were among the heaviest backers of the Citizens United case that opened the flood gates to billionaires essentially buying elections for their preferred candidates. Photo: JHVEPhoto, iStockphoto
From the "not much of a surprise" department, analysis finds that America's 661 billionaires pumped $1,200,000,000 into the 2020 elections.

Republished with permission from Common Dreams, by Jake Johnson

Marking the 12th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark Citizens United decision, the advocacy group Americans for Tax Fairness on Friday published a report showing that U.S. billionaires dumped a staggering $1.2 billion into the 2020 elections—a 39-fold increase compared to 2010.

Over the course of the 2020 election cycle, ATF found, America’s 661 billionaires contributed nearly $1 out of every $10 spent attempting to influence the outcome and determine who sets policy for a nation of 330 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 estimated in a separate report out earlier this week that the 10 richest U.S. billionaires have added $1 billion to their combined wealth every day of the pandemic.

“Weak taxation of the wealthy combined with anemic regulation of campaign fundraising have handed America’s billionaires outsized political influence to go along with their huge economic clout,” said Clemente.

According to 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.”

“The secret political spending we have seen over the last 12 years has corrupted our political process.”

The advocacy organization 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 totaled 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.

In recent years, members of Congress have introduced constitutional amendments aimed at overturning Citizens United, but none of the efforts have gotten off the ground. A number of state and local governments have also passed resolutions urging Congress to take action to reverse the 2010 decision, to no avail.

“Corporations are not people, and billionaires shouldn’t get to use their enormous wealth to pick and choose who they want in office,” ATF said Friday. “It’s well beyond time for Citizens United to go, and to put real action towards getting big money out of politics. Our democracy depends on it.”

Lisa Gilbert, executive vice president of the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen, said in a statement marking the ruling’s anniversary that “the secret political spending we have seen over the last 12 years has corrupted our political process toward corporate interests and robbed citizens of authentic representation.”

“It plays a large role in the failures to defend our democracy, pass Build Back Better, address climate change, fix our healthcare system, and much more,” said Gilbert. “The amount of money flowing into our elections is unprecedented and increases every cycle. A handful of billionaires exert enormous influence over our politics. And as a result, elected officials have grown ever more responsive to the desires of corporations and the ultrawealthy at the expense of their constituents.”

<a href="http://commondreams.org" target="_blank">Common Dreams</a>

Common Dreams

Common Dreams has been providing breaking news & views for the progressive community since 1997. They are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Follow Us

Related Articles

Nov 26 2022

Early Voting Starts Today in Georgia Despite Republican Efforts to Block It

The Georgia Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled against the Republican Party attempts to block local election officials from conducting advanced voting the Saturday after...
Nov 24 2022

Huh? Herschel Walker’s Primary Residence Is in Texas?

The question of the day, “How can Herschel Walker represent Georgians when he doesn’t claim Georgia as his primary residence?”
Nov 20 2022

Why Conservative Parents Are Trying to Take Over School Boards

Hundreds of parents hoping to “take back” public education ran for school board seats in the midterms. What’s the actual job that awaits those who win?
Nov 17 2022

How Banks and Private Equity Are Cashing In on Patients Who Can’t Pay Their Medical Bills

As Americans are overwhelmed with medical bills, patient financing is now a multibillion-dollar business—with profit margins topping 29 percent in the patient financing...
Nov 16 2022

Some “Do’s and Don’ts” of How the News Media Should Responsibly Cover Trump’s New Circus

When it comes to Trump, journalists—if they are to serve the public interest—must realize they are reporting on a politician who regularly defies democratic norms and...
Nov 12 2022

Georgia Senate Candidates Back on the Campaign Trail as Trump Factor Could Again Aid Warnock

Trump has been blamed for helping Warnock and Sen. Jon Ossoff win in 2021 when he spent the time before the January runoff telling Georgians the state’s election system...
Nov 10 2022

How Can Congressional Insurrectionists Be Removed from Office Under the 14th Amendment?

There is no question that certain sitting members or newly reelected members of Congress do not qualify for office under 14th Amendment. The real question is whose job...
Nov 07 2022

Billionaires Have Spent Almost a Billion Dollars Trying to Buy the Midterm Election Cycle

According to an analysis released last week by Americans for Tax Fairness, U.S. billionaires who have seen their wealth skyrocket during the coronavirus pandemic have...
Nov 05 2022

New Report Confirms Corporations Use Inflation as an Excuse for Price Gouging and Profiteering

Under the guise of inflation, certain corporations excessively hiked prices far beyond what their costs necessitated, further driving inflation.
Nov 02 2022

What is “Christian Nationalism” and Why Has It Gotten So Loud

Christian nationalism is more than religiosity and patriotism. It is a worldview that guides how people believe the nation should be structured and who belongs...
Subscribe for Updates!

Subscribe for Updates!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This