“Super PACs, which are legal as a result of the 2010 Citizens United decision and subsequent decisions that really set us on this unfortunate path to unlimited money in politics.”
~Alan Zibel, Research Director at the Corporate Presidency Project.
The election cycle of 2018 promises to break all the wrong records, according to researcher Alan Zibel, Research Director at Public Citizen’s Corporate Presidency Project. He recently determined that just 56 donors account for $481 million in campaign contributions.
While Zibel generally directs the research effort at Public Citizen’s Corporate Presidency Project, he told KGNU he wanted to look at the long range impacts of the 2010 Supreme Court Citizens United decision which many contend initiated a surge of political spending that 8 years later has only grown.
Outside groups known as super PACs (Political Action Committees) for the first time ever have actually spent more on campaigns than the candidates themselves and Zibel adds the overall amount of money spent on this midterm election rivals that of a presidential election.
Sheldon Adelson of Nevada leads the donors at $113 million in donations is known for supporting republicans, which Zibel said makes it the most expensive election for the Las Vegas magnate to date. The leading donor for democrats is Tom Steyer from California, who has been the primary funder of an organization created to impeach the current president.
Colorado’s biggest donors include the US Navy and the nation’s second largest lobbying firm, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, which is headquartered in Denver. The Anschutz Corporation contributed the most at just under $1.2 million.
Five of the names on this list of 56 “mega-donors” have made sizeable donations over a few election cycles to the Club for Growth, an organization Zibel describes as a right-wing Chamber of Commerce and is also listed as top contributor throughout the political career of Vice President of the United States, Mike Pence.