When the Republican candidates for president expounded on what they would do for ordinary Americans in their debate this month, they neglected to mention that more than half the money underpinning their campaigns has been coming from just 130 big-spending families and the businesses they run. These families are determined to influence the election with six- and seven-figure checks. The stark, sad truth of modern campaigning is that a small pool of the richest Americans is making the candidates in both parties increasingly dependent on special-interest money. Fewer than 400 of the nation’s most affluent families have supplied almost half of the money raised so far by presidential candidates in both parties, according a survey of federal campaign data by The Times.
This is an alarming new direction in modern campaigning that arose along with the nation’s growing income disparity and is empowered by shadowy new methods of raising unlimited, untraceable money from the richest donors.
Hillary Rodham Clinton’s formal campaign celebrates large-scale support from small-dollar donors, but her affiliated super PAC reported that most of its $15 million came from nine donors giving $1 million each. Some of the money, as is the case in rival campaigns, is untraceable because of another cynical innovation — “social welfare” nonprofit groups. Fueled by the Supreme Court’s reckless Citizens United decision in 2010, which ended limits on campaign spending by corporations and unions, spending by exempt organizations that do not have to disclose donors increased 60-fold to more than $300 million in the 2012 presidential cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. An even bigger infusion is expected in 2016.
Full Article: The Affluent Ante Up for the Presidency – The New York Times.