Every Voice


The Issue

Billionaires for McConnell or McConnell for Billionaires?

September 12, 2013 | Tam Doan

Executive Summary

When Sen. Mitch McConnell’s attorney tells the Supreme Court in October to throw out contribution limits, he’ll be asking the Court to expand the political power of dozens of the wealthiest Americans who donate to the Kentucky senator’s campaign, according to new Public Campaign Action Fund analysis of campaign finance data.

On October 8th, the Supreme Court will hear McCutcheon v. FEC, a challenge to the federal “aggregate contribution limit,” what individuals can give, in total, to federal candidates and committees each cycle. The Court has granted McConnell’s request to present his view—that all limits should be thrown out.

That perspective, which even the case’s plaintiff has said he disagrees with, would be a boon to the country¹s wealthiest Americans, including those who have filled the Minority Leader¹s campaign coffers over the years. In fact, 62 billionaires have donated to McConnell during his career and 15 of those have neared the “aggregate limit” being challenged in McCutcheon.

Key Findings

  • Collectively, at least 62 members of the Forbes billionaires list have donated about $265,000 to Sen. McConnell’s campaigns over his career.
  • In 2012, fifteen of those were within 10 percent of hitting the “aggregate limit” being challenged in McCutcheon.
  • Half of McConnell’s billionaire donors are from Wall Street or the finance sector. In fact, the top giving billionaire is hedge fund titan Paul Singer, who is the head of Elliott Management and worth an estimated $1.3 billion.
  • Five of the 10 wealthiest Americans—Charles Koch, David Koch, Jim Walton, Sheldon Adelson, and Alice Walton—have donated at least $29,200 to McConnell, with $26,200 donated in the past six years.

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