Billionaires have pumped nearly $900m into midterm elections, report says

George Soros, the Uihlien family and Peter Thiel are some of the most generous donors

Eric Garcia
Thursday 03 November 2022 19:39 GMT
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Billionaires in the United States have pumped nearly $900m into campaigns during the 2022 midterm cycle, a new report has found.

Americans for Tax Fairness released a report on Thursday that found that as of 30 September, a coterie of 465 billionaires in the United States had pumped $881m into federal elections. The number increased from 2018, when billionaires spent $611m.

The study also found that 59 per cent of money from billionaires went to Republicans, while 39 per cent went to Democrats. An additional two per cent went toward pro-cryptocurrency PACs and super PACs supporting Israel.

Altogether, billionaires represent about 7.4 per cent of all money that went into federal elections.

Liberal billionaire financier George Soros was the single largest funder of all races, spending $128.4m. But most donors leaned right. Richard and Elizabeth Uihlein of Wisconsin have spent $67.3m, including $20m each to the conservative Club for Growth and their own super PAC called Restoration PAC, as well as $3.5m to a super PAC supporting Senator Ron Johnson’s reelection.

Other billionaires on the list include venture capitalist Peter Thiel. Mr Thiel dropped more than $30m, with almost all of it going to single-candidate PACs that propelled two former proteges – Blake Masters in Arizona and JD Vance in Ohio – during their runs for Senate runs.

Americans for Tax Fairness also noted how billionaire spending also skyrocketed in the years since the Supreme Court’s Citizens United v Federal Election Commission case loosened campaign finance rules on how much political action committees and super PACs could receive. The group found that in 2010, the year of the ruling, billionaires spent $32m, but in 2022, that number looks like pocket change compared to the $881m.

In addition, the super PACs affiliated with Republicans – the Kevin McCarthy-affiliated Congressional Leadership Fund and the Mitch McConnell-affiliated Senate Leadership Fund – received $98.8m and $82.4m from billionaires, respectively. The two affiliated with Democrats – House Majority PAC and Senate Majority PAC – received $26.8m and $34.8m from billionaires.

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