May 26, 2016: Out of the Remaining Presidential Candidates, Clinton Relies Most on Big
Clinton’s main super PAC, PrioritiesUSA Action, raised $8.5 millions in April. Bernie Sanders remains theonly one of the remaining three candidates to not receive six-figuredonations
Of the three remaining presidential candidates, Democratic frontrunnerHillary Clinton is the candidate that relies most on big donors,according to the Stigler Center’s latest analysis of the candidates’fundraising records.
The latest update of the CampaignFinancing Capture Index—a project by the Stigler Center that tracks theattempts of large political contributors to affect public policy byfocusing on the fraction of total funds raised from large donors—findsthat (as of April 30) 37.8 percent of the $322.7 million raised by theClinton campaign and the main PACs and super PACs backing her candidacycame from donations above $5,000. 30.6 percent came from donations above$100,000, compared with 29.6 percent for John Kasich and 39.1 percentfor Ted Cruz, both of whom have dropped out of the race by now.
Overall, the latest data shows verylittle change for Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, who remain the lowend of the index. 3.4 percent of Trump’s campaign and major super PACdonations are above $5,000, and 1.7 percent are above $100,000. As forSanders, the latest data shows a slight uptick in the share of donationsabove $5,000 raised by his campaign, from 0.4 percent in March to 1.6percent in April. Sanders remains the only one of the remaining threecandidates to not receive six-figure donations.
Clinton’s main super PAC, Priorities USAAction, raised $8.5 millions in April. Both Cheryl and Haim Sabandonated $1.5 million (each) in April, after donating $1 million each inMarch. S. Daniel Abraham, the founder of the weight-loss brandSlim-Fast, contributed $1 million to Priorities USA Action. Alex Soros,son of billionaire investor George Soros, contributed $1 million.
Overall, Sanders continued to outraiseClinton in April, with just over $25 million in donations, the vastmajority of them from small donors. Sanders’ campaign committee has sofar raised $206 million, of which $127.4 (roughly 60 percent) came fromdonors giving less than $200. Clinton’s campaign has raised $185.6million so far, not including super PACs that cannot coordinate with hercampaign.
With the exception of a $50,000 donationfrom Republican operative Eric Beach, who works for his campaign, theTrump super PAC Great America PAC (the only super PAC that supportsTrump and releases monthly filings) raised only contributions below$5,000 in April. As of late April, Trump has loaned his campaign $43.8million.
The analysis was done based on datacollected from the FEC website, and comprises all the contributions madeto campaigns, major super PACs and leadership PACs until April 30.
The Campaign Financing Capture Indexanalyzes the distribution of political contributions to presidentialcandidates and takes into account individual contributions andcontributions made to the PACs, super PACs and joint fundraisingcommittees that support each candidate. The idea behind the index isthat large political contributions represent more than the mereexpression of political preference, and are more likely meant toinfluence policy in favor of the donor’s interest. When the percentageof funds raised from large donors is significant, as it has been inrecent years, this problem becomes acute. The Stigler Center willpublish a concentration and distribution analysis every three monthsuntil the presidential elections.