Over a decade after Citizens United and as the rich grow ever richer, billionaires are rapidly taking over Capitol Hill with political donations — and, as a new report shows, the Republican Party is a major beneficiary of this supposed generosity.
Just 27 billionaires contributed nearly half of the funding for this election cycle (47%) new report from Americans for Tax FairnessWednesday’s announcement. That’s $89.4 million, straight from the pockets of over two dozen of America’s richest people.
The vast majority of those billionaires — 86 percent — gleaned their fortunes from Wall Street; in turn, the finance sector benefits the mostFrom GOP tax cuts to corporate handouts. Rupert Murdoch (founder of Fox News; Charles Schwab and Helen Schwab, the former founded the finance company Charles Schwab; Ross Perot Jr. Texas real estate magnate; and Trevor and Jan Rees-Jones, whose wealth comes from Chief Oil & Gas, which is credited asA pioneer in fracking.
The report says that these figures still don’t capture the full extent to which billionaires influence politics, as the rich are also able to donate through corporations and organizations without the donations bearing their names.
Billionaires have been able to accumulate enough money to donate in such huge amounts due to the U.S tax system, which — thanks largely to Republicans but also in part to Democrats — overwhelmingly favors the rich. These tax breaks include measures such as the carried interest loophole, which allows private equity managers or venture capitalists to pay only 20% in taxes their incomesInstead of the 37 percent top income tax rate,
Over the first two years of the pandemic, the 27 billionaire GOP donors collectively added a towering $82 billion to their wealth of $227 billion — an increase of 57 percent.
“The nation’s roughly 750 billionaires are increasingly using their personal fortunes and the profits of connected corporations to drown out regular voters’ voices and elect hand-picked candidates who further rig the nation’s economy,” the report says.
Since years, billionaires have given large amounts of money to Republicans. For example, they gave Donald Trump $240 million total during his 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns. Because Citizens United v. FECSuper PACs were allowed to spend unlimited amounts on campaigns without strings attached. This problem has only gotten worse in the last decade.
Another Americans for Tax Fairness report This year, earlierWe found that, since the Citizens UnitedIn 2010, the Supreme Court ruled billionaires were spending $1 billion more on elections than before the decision. In 2020, billionaires contributed almost $1 to every $10 of all the money donated. the most expensiveThe most recent election cycle.
The Democrats also received billionaire donations, though to a lesser degree, Americans for Tax Fairness found. The Democrats’ Senate and House super PACs have received $26 million from billionaires, or about 17 percent of the $154 million that the groups have raised over the first 16 months of this midterm cycle. Only a third were Wall Street-based billionaires.
Still, the Democratic donors also gained a significant amount of money during the first two years of the pandemic — about $88 billion, or a 70 percent increase.