Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has been making a political point all year that there is a lot of private money floating around politics. Â A lot of cash that billionaires – yes, billionaires – are spending to influence politics and deals made in Congress favorable to their investments and financial health.
Reid has been most vocal complaining about the Koch Brothers, a pair of billionaire brothers whose fortunes are a result of success in oil, traditional energy and other industries. Â The brothers are owners of a privately held company. Â By all accounts the Kochs are liberty loving Americans and as such contribute to causes that further American ideals. Â According to Reid’s diatribes, the brothers’ pledge to contribute millions of dollars to help get Republicans elected is a problem since billionaires just shouldn’t be unduly influencing the electoral process.
So, one would assume then that the Koch Brothers are the largest contributors to American political causes, right? Â Well….
Open Secrets’ Center for Responsive Politics regularly does the legwork and reporting of where the money in politics comes from and who it goes to. Â There is a nifty interactive tool on their website where a user can find out all sorts of information. Â So according to the Center for Responsive Politics’ database, who are the top three billionaire donors to American politics for the 2014 election cycle?
- Tom Steyer – over $20 million donated to liberals
- Michael Bloomberg – $500,000 to conservatives, $10.7 million to liberals
- Fred Eychaner – $5.6 million to liberals.
And how much have the Koch Brothers distributed to Republicans via their political action committee? Â $2.5 million out of $3 million raised.
Given that there are countless PACs and SuperPACs for people with money to contribute to and not have to disclose that they have done so, it is more than possible that the Koch Brothers have dropped some serious cash on the November midterms, but they are far from the only ones with more money than the rest of us combined committed to political causes. Â On the top donors list, all Soros contributions are considerably smaller than what George pours into think tanks and nonprofits on an annual basis.
Other interesting tidbits from the Center from Responsive Politics scoop:
- So far, over $300 million dollars has been spent on the upcoming election.
- Conservatives are outspending liberals $167.5 million to $139.4 million in 2014.
- The award for most spending by a SuperPAC goes to Senate Majority PAC which works to get Democrats elected. Â They’ve spent over $31 million. Â Contributors are reported publicly.
- The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the largest non-disclosure nonprofit group at over $23 million.
- North Carolina’s Senate race is the biggest spender with almost half the funds going against Republicans.
- $105.5 million has been spent against Republicans as opposed to $23.9 million for Democrats this time around.
And Republicans may well win the Senate anyway.
So, there we have it. Â Big money in politics. Â And the liberal billionaires are outspending the conservatives.
Got anything to say to that Sen. Reid?