Democrats Seek Super-Rich Donors to Match Republican Super-Rich Donors...Is This Democracy in Action?

Monday, February 13, 2012
Jeffrey Katzenberg and Barack Obama (AP Photo)
Having watched their Republican counterparts rake in enormous sums from wealthy donors, five Democratic super PACs are now trying to do the same, only with rich Democrats.
The goal of the five Democratic super PACs is to receive donations ranging from $1 million to $10 million from individuals. The campaign groups were reluctant to adopt this strategy until President Barack Obama okayed the idea, which he did on Monday during a conference call with his supporters.
The five super PACs in question are Priorities USA Action (focus: Obama’s reelection), Majority PAC (focus: U.S. Senate races), House Majority PAC, American Bridge 21st Century (focus: opposition research) and America Votes (focus: get-out-the-vote).
Some of the wealthy Democrats being targeted for million-dollar checks are Hollywood executive Jeffrey Katzenberg, Chicago media executive Fred Eychaner, hotel heiress Penny Pritzker, media mogul Haim Saban and banking executive Robert Wolf, who chairs UBS Group Americas.
The five super PACs and two affiliated non-profits raised a combined raised $19.6 million in 2011. This amount was dwarfed by the Republican-oriented American Crossroads and its non-profit affiliate, Crossroads GPS, which pulled in $51 million.
Of course President Obama was already adept at attracting wealthy in the pre-Super PAC days, by his use of “bundlers,” rich people who coerce their friends, business associates and employees to contribute to a political campaign. In this campaign cycle alone, 60 pro-Obama bundlers have raised at least $500,000 each.
Nonetheless, 48% of Obama’s pre-Super PAC donation dollars have come from people who contributed $200 or less. This is almost exactly the same percentage as Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul. Only 32% of Rick Santorum’s campaign funds have come from such small donors. As for Mitt Romney, the figure is only 9%.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky
To Learn More:

Individual Donors to 2012 Presidential Candidates, Cumulative through December 31, 2011 (Campaign Finance Institute) (pdf) 


Jim Demers 11 years ago
not so much democracy in action as an arms race. obama would be nuts to "stick to his principles" while republican pacs collect and spend a billion dollars on election advertising.

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