By TML Weekly – Oct 3, 2020
With just a month until the U.S. presidential election on November 3, Democratic candidate Joe Biden has received donations from 149 billionaires, totalling about $564 million. Republican Party candidate Donald Trump has received donations from 102 billionaires for a total of about $173 million. These are donations directly to their respective campaigns and their committees, while many millions more are donated to their super Political Action Committees (PACs).
The figures are based on Federal Election Commission filings, which means some funds to super PACs that do not require the donor to be named are not included.
Forbes Magazine has now created a “Billionaire Donor Hub” to track billionaire funding of Biden and Trump. Biden gets the large majority of funds from those involved in “Finance and Investments” and “Technology,” far surpassing Trump in those categories. Trump’s support is from those in “Sports” and “Gambling and Casinos.” He also receives donations from all seven billionaires listed under “Energy,” including $1.7 million from Kelcy Warren, of Energy Transfer Partners, engaged in natural gas pipelines and wind farms. Jeffery Hildebrand, head of Hilcorp, the largest privately owned oil company contributed $900,000.
Since May, Biden has added more than two dozen new names to his roster of billionaire donors. His newest supporters include George Soros, who gave $505,600 to Biden’s joint fundraising committee with the Democratic National Committee. Soros, a major Clinton backer, has spent more than $8 million this election cycle.
Biden has six hedge fund managers in his top 10 contributors. His other new donors are mostly top Internet billionaires. These include Twilio CEO Jeff Lawson, who contributed $1.2 million; Facebook’s Dustin Moskovitz ($620,600) and Sean Parker ($578,000); Zynga founder Mark Pincus ($626,200); and Twitter cofounder Ev Williams ($250,500). Nicole Systrom, who is married to Instagram cofounder Kevin Systrom, donated $250,000.
Billionaire Jeff Skoll, who was eBay’s first full-time hire, gave $620,600 between May and June. Skoll was born in Canada and became a U.S. citizen in 2007. In addition to his donations to the Biden committees, he gave $4.5 million in May and June to super PACs supporting Biden and Senate Democrats.
Additional new billionaire donors include: Gary and Laura Lauder of Estée Lauder ($240,000); Jim Coulter, TPG Capitol, a private equity giant ($100,000); Nicole Shanahan, wife of Google co-founder Sergey Brin, ($25,000); Merryl Zegar, wife of Charles Zegar, Bloomberg LP ($12,200); Nicholas Pritzker, Hyatt Hotels and TAO Capital Partners ($5,600).
About 54 per cent of Trump’s current donors did not contribute to his 2016 campaign, many giving to others running in the presidential primary at that time. This includes Stephen Schwarzman of Blackstone Group, now one of his top donors at about $3.7 million. According to Forbes he is one of the richest people on Wall Street and one of the largest political donors in the U.S. He previously backed Jeb Bush.
Additional billionaire donors making six figure donations to Trump include: Dennis and Phyllis Washington, construction and mining (Washington Companies and Seaspan Marine Corporation), $1 million; Ira and Ingeborg Rennert, investments (Renco Group), $900,000; Steve Wynn, casinos and hotels, $468,500; Ronald and Joyce Wanek, Ashley Furniture, $420,000; Farris and Dan Wilks, natural gas and fracking (Frac Tech), $250,000 and $50,000; Joe Liemandt, software (Trilogy Software and ESW Capital), $200,000; Tilman and Paige Fertitta, owners of the Houston Rockets, $140,000; Ron Perelman, investments and leveraged buyouts (MacAndrews and Forbes), $125,000; Charles and Helen Dolan, cable television (Cablevision Systems Corp.), $125,000; Benjamin Lewis, husband of Jane Goldman, real estate (Solil Management), $100,000; Dan Snyder, Washington Football Team, $100,000; Douglas and Patricia Leone, venture capital (Sequoia Capital), $100,000.
Trump’s new contributors include two Republican stalwarts, Bernard and Billi Marcus of Home Depot, who gave a combined $721,200 in May. Oracle CEO Safra Catz and her husband Gal Tirosh gave $250,000 to Trump’s joint fundraising committees in June. West Virginia’s Republican governor and coal billionaire Jim Justice donated $100,000 to Trump Victory and $27,500 to a pro-Trump super-PAC. Trump also received new support from Rodger Riney, the co-founder of discount brokerage firm Scottrade; and Thomas Duff, who is one of the owners of Southern Tire Mart. Each made small contributions of less than $2,800.
- For the “Billionaire Donor Hub” click here.