There is a lot of money in politics, and Hillary Clinton was able to raise a remarkable amount during the 2016 election cycle. The total amount raised by the official campaign committee, the DNC, super PACs, PACs, and joint fundraising committees, was close to $1 billion.
In six months, Clinton's official campaign committee Hillary for America raised $460 million. However, since there is a cap on the amount an individual can contribute to a campaign directly, super PACs remain important to big donors. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, more than half the amount raised by Clinton and her allies this election cycle came from large individual contributions, versus only 15% of Donald Trump's campaign funds.
Priorities USA Action, the main pro-Clinton super PAC, has raised a total of $155 million. It raised almost $25 million in September, narrowly beating its August tally, making it the super PAC's best fundraising month yet. FEC filings released Thursday night show us who was driving the surge in donations.
The following were the biggest donors to Clinton's campaign:
- While Hillary Clinton did not win the 2016 presidential election, she still managed to raise millions of dollars in campaign contributions.
- Campaign finance laws state that political donations be reported to the Federal Election Committee (FEC), which makes that data public.
- Here, we profile the ten largest contributors to the Clinton campaign.
1. Dustin Moskovitz and Cari Tuna: $35 Million (Including Donations to Non-Partisan Voter Registration Efforts)
Facebook (FB) co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and his wife Cari Tuna revealed their plans to support the Democrats with donations in two Medium posts, one in the first week of September and one in early October.
They said, "Like many Democratic voters, we don’t support every plank of the platform, but it is clear that if Secretary Clinton wins the election, America will advance much further toward the world we hope to see. If Donald Trump wins, the country will fall backward, and become more isolated from the global community."
In 2016, Moskovitz said they gave a total of $20 million to pro-Clinton, pro-Democrat organizations including the Hillary Victory Fund, the DSCC, and the DCCC, the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) Victory Fund, For Our Future PAC, MoveOn.org Political Action, Color Of Change PAC, and several nonpartisan voter registration efforts.
In October, Moskovitz contributed $15 million to policy advocacy organizations, including the PUA super PAC, and $7 million to nonpartisan voter registration and get-out-the-vote efforts. He donated $2.5 million to the PUA super PAC in September and again in October, and then $1 million in November.
2. Donald Sussman, Paloma Partners: $21,100,000
The president of this Connecticut-based hedge fund donated $21 million to the PUA super PAC and $600,000 to the Correct the Record super PAC. Correct the Record collects money to pay for personnel whose job it is to defend Clinton online.
3. Jay Robert Pritzker and Mary Pritzker, Pritzker Group and Pritzker Family Foundation: $12,600,000
JB, the heir to the Hyatt Hotel (H) fortune and co-founder of an investment firm, donated to the PUA super PAC along with his wife. The Pritzker Family Foundation led by Jay Robert also donated to PUA super PAC.
4. Haim Saban and Cheryl Saban, Saban Capital Group: $10,000,000
Chair of Univision Communications Haim Saban has been a long-time friend of Clinton, and his wife Cheryl sits on the board of the Clinton Foundation. Both donated separately to the PUA super PAC.
5. George Soros, Soros Fund Management: $9,525,000
The 85-year-old billionaire has been vocal about his disdain for Trump. He donated $9.5 million to the PUA super PAC and $25,000 to the Ready super PAC.
6. S. Daniel Abraham, SDA Enterprises: $9,000,000
The 91-year-old sold his weight loss brand Slim-Fast to Unilever for $2.3 billion in 2000. He advocates for a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine and is the founder of the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace. He donated to the PUA super PAC.
7. Fred Eychaner, Newsweb Corporation: $8,005,400
Eychaner is the founder and chair of Newsweb, a Chicago media company. He donated to the PUA super PAC and Clinton's campaign committee.
8. James Simons, Euclidean Capital: $7,000,000
The billionaire hedge fund manager and mathematician donated to the PUA super PAC.
9. Henry Laufer and Marsha Laufer, Renaissance Technologies: $5,500,000
Henry is a director at Renaissance Technologies, an investment management firm founded by James Simon, #7 on this list. Marsha served as the chair of the Brookhaven Democratic Party. The Laufers donated to the PUA super PAC and Henry gave $500,000 to the Correct the Record Super PAC.
10. Laure Woods, Laurel Foundation: $5 million
Laure Woods is the president and founder of Laurel Foundation, a private foundation focused on the education, health, and welfare of children
David E. Shaw, founder of D.E. Shaw & Co., donated $3 million to the PUA super PAC and $50,000 to the Ready super PAC.
The following have all given to the PUA super PAC: Herb Sandler, whose foundation has supported the Center for Responsible Lending, ProPublica, and the Centre for American Progress, donated $3 million. Bernard L. Schwartz, chair of BLS Investments and life-long supporter of the Democratic Party, donated $2.5 million. Chair of Dreamworks New Media Jeffrey Katzenberg and director Steven Spielberg both donated $1 million each. Movie producer Thomas Tull, who was responsible for such hits as "The Hangover" and "300", has given $1.5 million.
The Bottom Line
Corporations aren’t allowed to directly donate money to a candidate’s campaign committee. However, they can sponsor political action committees (PACS) or donate unlimited amounts to independent expenditure-only committees (Super PACS). Individuals can donate a maximum of $2,800 per election (the limit was $2,700 for the 2016 election) to a candidate’s campaign committee and unlimited amounts to Super PACs. Super PACs cannot make contributions to candidates, parties, or other PACs but can independently advocate for a certain candidate.