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The 1% Of 1% That Are The Political Gatekeepers

The One Percent of One Percent… They fall into 3 categories.

While most of us Americans fall in the 99.99% range and can ill afford such massive contributions, these privileged elitists have unique access, which allows them to play the gifted role of political gatekeeper, forwarded to a lobbyist-friendly congress.

Corporate donations are the most common. Of the 10 companies with the most representation (The One Percent of the One Percent) in the 2010 election cycle, 6 are financial companies. The financial gift that keeps on giving.

Don’t be shocked at the clear winner of the corporate category—why it’s Goldman Sachs with 92%—far ahead of everyone else. You may have heard of Citigroup, with 32%, putting it in second place.  The political gatekeepers fall into 3 different categories.

3. The corporate contributors
The corporate contributors are the only category to give primarily to Republicans (they contribute 44.1% to Republican candidates and party committees, as compared to 39.8% to Democratic candidates and party committees; the rest goes to other vehicles, including independent expenditures). They tend to give to half as many candidates as they (on average less than 4.6) and give almost half of their money to party committees (the highest percentage of the three types).

2. The lawyer/lobbyist donors
The lawyer/lobbyist donors give the most money directly to candidates (51.1% goes directly to candidates), and they give to the most different candidates (10.1 on average). Presumably, this is because they are interested in maintaining access to multiple elected officials.

1. The ideological contributors
The ideological contributors on average spend the most (their median contribution level is $17,976). They also give the most money to independent expenditure groups (like American Crossroads) – 21.8%, much more than the other two types of donors. They give on average to 9.5 different candidates.

In 1990, only 13 federal candidates relied on The One Percent of the One Percent for at least half of their itemized donors. In the 2010 election cycle, 74 did. A big transition happened in the wake of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance regulations in 2002. With soft money off the table, individual campaigns became much more reliant on big The One Percent of the One Percent. In 2004, 56 candidates relied on The One Percent of the One Percent for at least half of their campaign funding, as compared to just nine the year before.

The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (2002)

The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (McCain–Feingold Act), federal law that amended the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, which regulates the financing of political campaigns.

Source: Sunlight Foundation

A campaign finance idea

“The need for collecting large campaign funds would vanish if Congress provided an appropriation for the proper and legitimate expenses of each of the great national parties — President Theodore Roosevelt

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