Where Presidential Candidates Get Their Money
One of the best ways to understand the political motivations of a candidate is to take a close look at their top donors. All of the following figures are provided by the Center for Responsive Politics.
First, let's take a look at the biggest fundraiser of the past month, Republican candidate Governor Mitt Romney.
Mitt Romney's top 10 donors are:
- Goldman Sachs
- JP Morgan Chase
- Bank of America
- Morgan Stanley
- Credit Suisse
- Kirkland & Ellis (Law firm)
- PwC (Accounting agency)
It's important to note that 8 of the top 10 are banks, with Kirkland & Ellis, a law firm, and PwC, an accounting agency, filling the remaining two spots. Romney's experience and past with the financial sector is likely one of the reasons for so many in his top 10, as well as his plan for business deregulation.
Next up is the incumbent President and Democratic candidate, Barack Obama.
Barack Obama's top 10 donors are:
- University of California
- DLA Piper (A law firm specializing in lobbying)
- Sidley Austin LLP (An international law firm)
- Harvard University (Obama's alma mater)
- Comcast Corp
- Stanford University
- Time Warner
- Skadden (Law firm)
Barack Obama's history working in the legal field is likely a contributor to his donor group. An interesting item to note: Comcast is the owner of MSNBC, and Time Warner is the owner of CNN. Two of the five major media conglomerates are top-10 donors to a candidate.
Finally, we arrive at the only other candidate who will be on the ballot in all 50 states as a Libertarian candidate, Governor Gary Johnson.
Gary Johnson's top 10 donors are:
- Tower Energy Group (Grocery store and gas station chain)
- Double Springs Ranch (Ranch and hunting lodge)
- Welcom Products (US-based cart manufacturer)
- Ryan Inc (Tax services agency)
- Corriente Advisors (Private investment firm)
- EOG Resources (Oil and natural gas company)
- Maple Engine (Financial planning)
- Aleph Objects (3D printing company)
- Legitscript LLC (Pharmaceutical verification company)
- Big Joe Handling Systems (Forklift and warehouse vehicle distributor)
Most of the companies supporting Gary Johnson are relatively unknown nationally, as they are small businesses. Johnson himself started a small business, Big J construction, which now employs over 1,000 workers, which is a likely reason for small business support.
Each of the candidates has a clear group backing them: Romney has banks, Obama has media, lawyers, and technology, and Johnson has small businesses and energy. In cases like this, the backers of each candidate say much more about the candidate than their stump speeches.