How the 1%-of-1% spends its political dollar

Nicko from the Sunlight Foundation sez, "The Sunlight Foundation published a very detailed analysis of campaign contributions from the 2010 cycle with accompanying infographics and profiles of the top political donors that show just who holds the power in U.S. electoral politics. Our analysis reveals a growing dependence of candidates and political parties on this 'One Percent of the One Percent, resulting in a political system that could be disproportionately influenced by donors in a handful of wealthy enclaves. Sunlight's examination also shows that some of the heaviest hitters in the 2010 cycle were ideological givers, suggesting that the influence of the One Percent of the One Percent on federal elections may be one of the obstacles to compromise in Washington.

"How does their giving compare to the average American's wealth? In the 2010 election cycle, the average One Percent of One Percenter spent $28,913, more than the median individual income of $26,364. Additionally, Sunlight's analysis shows that lobbyists make up between 15 and 20% of The One Percent of the One Percent."

The Political One Percent of the One Percent (Thanks, Nicko!)


  1. This is going to be a big problem for President Obama.  So much of his contributions came from the 1% Wall Streeters.  It’s hard to paint him in a 99% suppportive light.

    1. It’s a far bigger problem for the 99%, since Obama is the candidate the most likely to care about the rest of country. I’m certainly not looking for Newt or Mitt to give a care.

        1. I would classify caring and good intentions as necessary but not sufficient. If you neither care nor have good intentions then you are not going to be a good president/human being.

    2. Except that’s wrong. Romney has been raking the Wall Street cash and Obama has had the largest majority of small donor cash. But keep humping that chicken.

  2. Good to know — but what about how the money’s spent? What ends up going into the candidates’ wallets?

  3. Looking at the article, it appears that D candidates do better than Rs from the .01%. As for ideological groups, four of the top five are left of center.

  4. To be clear, this is not saying that 25% of the contributions come from the 0.01% richest Americans.  Rather, it is saying that 25% of the contributions come from the 0.01% who give the most.

    This is a gap that something that ordinary, middle-class Americans could close if we wanted to.  If every US citizen gave $2.89, it would equal the contribution from this 0.01% (though it wouldn’t show on the chart, because that only counts contributions over $200).  That’s not to say that the disparity isn’t a problem, but it’s more surmountable than the 1% wealth gap.

    1. Why should anyone support the congressvermin that enable the corruption and violence that we’re now seeing everywhere?

      1. This is why you donate to people that aren’t yet congressvermin. If big corp. decides to buy themselves some politicians, then maybe the middle class can buy some of their own. Sure it isn’t the best way to run a government, but for those poor souls living in those United States it may be their only option.

  5. Let me decipher four of those dots for you: Boeing: Seattle/Chicago, Lockheed Martin: Fort Worth, Raytheon: Dallas. All huge military contractors

  6. I wonder if there is a recent change to correlate where the money comes from with presidental candidate success/selection? I see Ohio is left out in terms of money and historically has provided the most presidents, but none recently. Looking at the president list, 10 out of the last 15 have generally been “from” the big money states (I arbitrarially started counting after the last president from Ohio). Interesting? And if so, why the change? Power concentration in major cities? Military/industrial complex? Any suggestions?

  7. Related:
    “In congressional races in 2010, the candidate who spent the most won 85 percent of the House races and 83 percent of the Senate races, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. That’s a large percentage, but it’s lower than what the sign indicated. Indeed, the percentage for 2010 was lower than it had been in recent election cycles. The center found that in 2008, the biggest spenders won 93 percent of House races and 86 percent of Senate races. In 2006, the top spenders won 94 percent of House races and 73 percent of Senate races. And in 2004, 98 percent of House seats went to candidates who spent the most, as did 88 percent of Senate seats.”

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